A Zimbabwean hunter accused of failing to stop the killing of Cecil the lion said on Thursday his family and business had been destroyed amid the outcry that followed the lion’s death and that charges against him should be dropped.
The Zimbabwean government said on Monday it would not charge American dentist Walter Palmer, who killed its most prized lion with a bow and arrow in July, because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt.
Theo Bronkhorst is accused of failing to stop an illegal hunt when he helped Palmer kill Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, in a case that caused international outrage and put the spotlight on big game hunting in Africa.
The national parks agency said in July that Bronkhorst could not work as a professional hunter, after cancelling his licence.
“It’s destroyed us, it has destroyed the family, our business,” Bronkhorst told journalists, holding back tears outside the Hwange magistrates court in western Zimbabwe.
Asked whether he believed he was innocent, Bronkhorst said: “Absolutely. I believe our permits were in order … and I still think we are gonna be vindicated.”
Bronkhorst’s lawyer Givemore Muvhiringi told Reuters that the state decides whom it wants to prosecute, but that it did not make sense not to charge Palmer but continue to pursue Bronkhorst. He said Bronkhorst’s charges should be dropped.
“It’s a contradiction. Now they have gone on to say Palmer’s hunt was lawful after all, so it means that there was nothing that Bronkhorst was supposed to stop and failed to stop,” Muvhiringi told Reuters.
On Thursday, the magistrates court in Hwange postponed Bronkhorst’s case for the third time, to Oct. 20, to allow it time to study submissions by the prosecution and defence regarding Bronkhorst’s application to quash his indictment.
The park’s agency has said prosecutors plan to present 13-year-old Cecil’s head in court as evidence.
Boo-effen-Hoo, Bronkhorst. Cecil’s life is ruined also. Cecil’s death bought about world wide outrage. Does this hunter really think charges will be dropped? Not even close.
Most Americans are repulsed by large game trophy hunting. Why is it necessary to kill something? I would have more respect for someone who managed to get the shot of a life-time–with a camera.