According to Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, the American hunter who killed Cecil the Lion should be extradited, Sky News reports.
While speaking to reporters during a Thursday news conference, Muchinguri said the killing was illegal and deliberate.
“We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal action,” she said.
As a result of the U.S. Extradition policy with Zimbabwe, it is very possible Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer could be sent to the country and face charges if found guilty. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force reported that Cecil the Lion was taken from Hwange National Park, where he is a main attraction, and killed with a bow and arrow.
After being shot, the lion was scalped and decapitated. Palmer paid the park guides $50,000 in compensation for access to the lion.
In support of lawfully avenging his death, U.S. proponents have garnered over 140,000 signatures for a petition to extradite Palmer. The alleged “foreign poacher” has also reportedly received multiple death threats and messages like, “Let the hunter be hunted” from some protesters.
The global issue has garnered the attention of the United Nations; it was brought up on Thursday when the General Assembly approved a resolution that would summon all countries to crack down on illegal poaching of wildlife.
Palmer did not work alone to physically seize the animal. It is believed he recruited two Zimbabwean men to assist him in the operation, both of whom are facing up to 15 years in prison for involvement if found guilty. One of the hires, Theo Bronkhorst, explained to the Daily Telegraph that at around 10 p.m., Palmer spotted Cecil and shot him with a bow and arrow through the grass.
The next morning Bronkhurst told a newspaper, “We found it and it was wounded, and the client [Palmer] then shot it… and killed it.”
Much of this national and international attention has caused protesters and advocates for #BlackLivesMatter to raise questions about the level of priority this wildlife case has held over the Black civilians still being gunned down each day.
Twitter turned its frustrations into the sarcastic hashtag #BlackLionsMatter.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested, you can sign the Palmer extradition petition here.
SOURCE: Sky News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty