Dentist Who Killed Cecil The Lion Won't Face Charges: Report

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protesters hold pictures of Cecil the Lion as they stand in front of the Department of Interior building to protest against the importing of wild game killed as trophies.
The American dentist who sparked outrage worldwide when he killed a well-known African lion named Cecil in July won't face charges, officials in Zimbabwe told reporters today.

Dr. Walter Palmer, a big-game hunter from Minnesota, shot the lion with an arrow outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe during a hunting trip. Dr. Palmer, who reportedly paid $50,000 to go on the hunt, and a guide, were accused of stalking the lion for days before killing it outside its protected habitat.

The killing made international headlines after a photo of Dr. Palmer posing next to Cecil's body was posted online, angering conservationists, and generating intense backlash on social media. Calls to ban trophy hunts followed, and critics both in Zimbabwe and abroad said they wanted to see Dr. Palmer extradited so he could face charges.

But Zimbabwean officials said Monday that they would not charge Dr. Palmer because he was legally authorized to go on the hunt, Reuters reported.

Two additional people involved in the hunt still face charges in connection with the lion's death, according to Reuters. "All the papers were in order," Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

Dr. Palmer, who has previously said he believed he acted within the law and was not aware that Cecil was the subject of the hunt, could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

The hunting industry generates millions of dollars for Zimbabwe each year, including funds for conservation.

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