Cecil The Lion: Charges dropped against Cecil’s hunter, Report

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Cecil The Lion: Charges dropped against Cecil's hunter, Report
Cecil The Lion: Charges dropped against Cecil's hunter, Report
Cecil The Lion: Charges dropped against Cecil's hunter, Report
Cecil The Lion: Charges dropped against Cecil’s hunter, Report

Charges have been dropped against the hunter who helped in the killing of Cecil the lion.

Theo Bronkhorst appeared in a Zimbabwean court charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt after leading Walter Palmer to the animal.

But the court ruled that the charges against him were “too vague to enable to him to mount a proper defence”.

Cecil’s death in 2015 prompted an international outcry, as well as a worldwide campaign to ban trophy hunting.

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The lion, a favourite with visitors to the Hwange National Park, was wearing a GPS collar when he was shot with a bow and arrow and then later a rifle.

Mr Bronkhorst’s lawyer Perpetua Dube said the court had upheld her application to set aside the accusations, but prosecutors can still press for fresh charges.

The authorities in Zimbabwe said at one point they were considering charging Mr Palmer, but they later dropped the plan.

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Mr Palmer, from Minnesota, expressed his “deep regret” for his actions, and said he did not realise the animal was so revered.

He said he had paid the hunters $50,000 (£32,000).

“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he said at the time.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.

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“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Mr Bronkhorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, could have faced 15 years in prison if he had been convicted.

Cecil had a GPS collar so that researchers at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit to track his movements.

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