HARARE – ANOTHER US trophy hunter is suspected of killing a lion in Zimbabwe without a permit, authorities in Harare said Sunday, days after the killing of Cecil the lion by an American dentist caused global outrage.
A government statement said a crackdown on illegal hunting since Cecil’s killing had led to the arrest of safari organiser Headman Sibanda.
Sibanda’s client was an American called Jan Casmir Sieski from Pennsylvania who travelled to the southern African country in April, the statement said, adding that the hunt took place on Sibanda’s Railway Farm 31.
“Headman Sibanda’s case is in connection with a lion that was killed by the other American in April,” Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said.
On Saturday, the parks authority announced restrictions on hunting around Hwange National Park, the country’s biggest game reserve, where Cecil lived.
The hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the area around the reserve in western Zimbabwe has been suspended, as has hunting with bows and arrows — the weapon used by Cecil’s killer Walter Palmer — barring special permission from the head of Zimparks.
The restrictions are expected to eat into the country’s lucrative trophy hunting business.
The government said Sunday it was “very much aware of the final implications” for the safari industry and wildlife producers as well as those tasked with implementing the measures and appealed for donations for a special Zimparks conservation fund.
Meanwhile, Zimparks dismissed rumours that a brother of Cecil, known as Jericho, had been slain at the weekend.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, the environmentalist group that broke the news of Cecil’s killing, caused consternation among animal lovers worldwide Saturday by announcing on Facebook that Jericho — who has been looking after Cecil’s cubs — had also been killed.
But Zimparks put paid to the rumour on Sunday, declaring “the lion known as Jericho is still alive and being monitored by Brent Stapelias of the Lion Research Project”.
The ZCTF later retracted its report, claiming a case of “mistaken identity”.
The killing of Cecil, a favourite with international visitors to Hwange, who was renowned for his distinctive black mane, caused an international furore.
Palmer, a wealthy dentist from Minnesota, who was accompanied by local guide Theo Bronkhorst, shot the lion with a bow and arrow outside Hwange park in early July after paying around $50,000 for the hunt.
They tracked the wounded beast before finishing him off with another shot.
Bronkhorst, has denied allegations that they used bait to lure the big cat out of the park and that it took them 40 hours to find Cecil after the first shot, insisting they found the lion early the next morning.
Palmer, who is being investigated by the US government over Cecil’s death, has apologised and said he was misled by Bronkhorst.
The guide is due to appear in court on August 5 on a charge of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt”.
The United States has yet to respond to Zimbabwe’s request for Palmer to be extradited to face charges over the financing of the hunt. – AFP