A Zimbabwean professional hunter and a local landowner will appear in court on poaching charges for allegedly killing a much-loved lion called Cecil, officials said on Tuesday, after the felion’s death caused widespread outrage.
A statement issued by the Zimbabwean Parks Authority made no reference to reports that it was a wealthy Spanish or American man had killed Cecil with a bow and arrow after paying a $50 000 fee.
“Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, is facing criminal charges for allegedly killing a collared lion on Antoinette farm in Gwayi Conservancy, Hwange district on 1 July 2015,” the statement said.
It said Bronkhorst and landowner Honest Ndlovu would appear in court on Wednesday.
The lion, which was a popular attraction among visitors to the Hwange National Park, was allegedly tempted outside the park using bait and then shot.
Local media reports said Cecil, aged about 13, had been beheaded and skinned after his death.
The animal was collared and tracked for research.