In a stunning reversal on Monday, Zimbabwe officials announced that they will no longer seek to extradite Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who had drawn international outrage over killing a popular black-maned lion named Cecil in July.

The BBC reported that an investigation by the country’s Parks and Wildlife Authority revealed that Palmer had indeed procured the legal authority to hunt the lion, although the agency did not give additional details regarding the legality of the methods used in the taking of the animal.

“We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Zimbabwe Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri told the BBC.

Zimbabwe officials initially accused Palmer of poaching the lion outside Hwange National Park in July. At the time, government officials believed that Palmer conducted the hunt without the proper permits. Palmer’s guide, Theo Bronkhorst, and the landowner who owned the farm where Cecil was shot with a bow, Honest Trymore Ndvolu, were both arrested for their part in facilitating the excursion. While Zimbabwe officials have confirmed that they now no longer seek to charge Palmer with any crime, the trial against Bronkhorst is still scheduled to continue on Thursday. The two men have been formally charged with “failing to prevent an illegal hunt” by baiting the lion out of the protected park.

Palmer may no longer face extradition to Zimbabwe, but the Minnesota dentist seems to have already been convicted in the court of public opinion. Palmer, his family, and his dental practice have faced waves of protests, vandalism, and death threats since July. Palmer avoided the brunt of the outrage by hiding himself from the public eye, but he always maintained that he thought the taking of the lion was legal.

“In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he said in a statement in July. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Muchinguri told Rueters that Palmer would be welcome back in Zimbabwe as a tourist, but not as a hunter.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) and other groups urged officials to rethink their decision regarding Palmer, who they maintain poached Cecil in July.

“The fact is the law was broken. We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him,” ZCTF spokesperson Johnny Rodrigues told reporters.

Palmer, who reopened his dental office in September, has yet to comment on this turn of events.

Images from Twitter and Varnent on the Wikimedia Commons

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16 thoughts on “Zimbabwe Officials Say Walter Palmer Had Legal Authority to Kill Lion

  1. Just about everything in that country is a disaster. Its president, Mugabe is a murderer that has destroyed the economy and little of anything works there. I would wonder what changed their official minds and even moreso about ZCTF. Anywhere in this world where anything noteworthy takes place some vocal new group appears for their 15 minutes of fame. They are easily identified by the volume of their outraged voices. I would recommend a worldwide sports hunting ban on Zimbabwe. Now where does Palmer go to get back his reputation ?

    1. A worldwide sports hunting ban in Zimbabwe will only increase the amount of poaching that goes on. Take a country with 90% unemployment and then ban hunting and the hunters will find illegal ways to make money.

  2. I would love to see half the outrage over the killing of our Ambassador because of Hillary as this man received. The Safari Club needs to reinstate him in good standing and apologize for jumping the gun before all the facts were in.

  3. I agree with Tom.Rather than seek apologies Mr. Palmer should sue The Safari Club for defamation of character. That, at least might get a response.

  4. You know, when it comes to it, I question these people who express their outrage by vandalism and death threats to someone who hunts. Seems to me these people are more dangerous than the hunter they are pointing their finger at. Death threats are pretty serious folks. Do you think it makes you a better person to destroy property or tell someone you hope they die or I’m going to kill you for Hunting and taking a lion,,bear or deer? I hope your answer would be No. Theirs nothing wrong with hunting as long as laws are followed. To the people who want all hunting stopped I know you don’t want to read this but Billions of dollars are generated from folks who hunt. Most of this money goes back into the wildlife system, that are collected from licenses. . A lot of small towns rely on Hunting season to generate money to keep them going. Enough said.

  5. Typical American liberals….”don’t confuse me w/ the truth, my mind is made up”. These gutless wonders allow and even endorse wholesale slaughter of the unborn, call for a man and his family’s death, and cry over a damned lion that will be killed by it’s own kind in order to take over his pride…..Hey!!! Brain Fart…why not let politicians do the same?? If you want to be president, congresswhat-ever, ect. let the incumbent fight to the death w/ whoever wants his job…the fittest gets the job….Hey reid, pelosi, boxer, waters, i.e….are you listening???

    1. Nobody hates as viciously or as irrationally as a Liberal. All emotion . . no fact. Yet, at the same time they loudly proclaim to anyone who will listen how caring and determined to make the world a better place they are. The pure definition of hypocrisy.

  6. I agree with the above
    This country has become something different than what I fought for.
    Let the NO FACT media and the Liberals run this country in the ground with the smoke and mirrors game!
    Get attention drawn to this kind of false (bs)! And away from the problems at hand….
    Remember liberal Law/# A lie told enough times will become the truth in the eyes of the people!

  7. I hunt,and I believe this guy knew what was going down.
    Be serious I’d be in his shoes,I would ask why the lion had a transmitting collard?duh!
    This guy knew damn well that he was breaking the law.
    I have been in Africa for security reasons,for around 4 years.I know how it works other there.
    This is the type of idiot who gives us a bad name.
    He should be sitting in jail with the other 2 poachers.

    1. Try learning how to spell words properly and people might take you more seriously. On second thought, after reading my way through your garbled post, no they wouldn’t. You’re a shit for brains spouting off opinion as if it were facts.

  8. I thoroughly agree with almost everything said here. I as unaware that Safari Club has censured or kicked this poor man out. If so, they should damn well apologize. The real problem is the American public’s abysmal ignorance about just about everything, and especially pertaining anything regarding the natural world in general, not just hunting, etc. We have got to have one of the most ignorant and stupidest “educated” populations of citizens on the planet. It just makes me ashamed of us. The general media reflects that and is little better. By the way, the word “liberal” is just another dumb label and should be avoided. Its use is unworthy of thinking people. I even (gasp) have liberal thoughts sometimes myself !

  9. walter is an honest man. google “walter palmer felony poaching wisconsin”. yes walter is an honest man. i believe walter.

    i wonder what it cost him to beat the rap? it’s hard to believe that mugabe wouldn’t take bribe or at least his people.

    ice cream. raz

  10. Ok people i’m going to say it cost walter his Reputation,possibly his business,maybe even his marriage and definitely his peace of mind.He is a small town dentest.He saves and saves everything he can.ontop of.liscences owning his home whatever need..He daid in an early interview “this is my one big splurge a year.” Now.after all those people who begged him to ‘save my baby’s beautiful smile because baby (presumably between age 10-21) did something stupid and lost a tooth or three.Now that all those people have learned he was completely in the clear.The man deserves his own parade.
    And once those who demonified him have made him feel like superman for afew years .I think he sould pack.up his office and a nicer place with better people

    1. chase a. how long you and walter been friends? bloomington is the 4th largest city in minnesota. 10 miles from minneapolis. right out there in the sticks. walter is an honest man. walter would never commit perjury. google “walter palmer felony poaching wisconsin”. walter he’s my boy. honest as they came. salt of the earth.

      ice cream. raz

  11. Seems a law was broken by baiting the lion out of his protected area. Hunter and guides should be prosecuted. Hunter deserves everything that’s happened as well as should do some time in Africa. Shame on all involved.

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