Zimbabwe Wants To Bring Cecil's Killer Back To Africa To Be Punished

Zimbabwe will ask the United States to send the dentist who killed Cecil the lion back to the African nation where he will face justice.

Mashable reports Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe's environment, water and climate minister, told reporters the country began the process of requesting the extradition of Minnesota's Walter James Palmer, who allegedly paid $50,000 to kill the lion.

During a news conference, Muchinguri said,

Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin. We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable.

Palmer released a statement on Tuesday saying the hunter and the farm owner, who were both from Zimbabwe, orchestrated the hunt and told him he would not be breaking any laws in killing the lion.

But, both Zimbabweans were arrested, and Muchinguri said the hunt violated the Parks and Wildlife Act on several counts.

These violations stem from Palmer's use of a bow and arrow, his financing of the hunt and the farmer's lack of a "necessary permit," the Cabinet minister said.

Palmer reportedly used bait to lure Cecil onto private property and shoot the lion with a bow and arrow.

The hunters killed Cecil with a gunshot approximately 40 hours later.

Muchinguri also believes Palmer should be penalized for the hunt's potential to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the US.

But according to Yahoo! News, on Thursday, the White House said it will give its attention to the more than 100,000 signatures in favor of the extradition.

A treaty between the US and Zimbabwe created in 1998 states a suspect can be extradited if the crime in question is punishable by over a year of jail time.

Zimbabwean law punishes the illegal killing of a lion with a fine of $20,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Palmer went into hiding just after his name was revealed earlier this week, but in a written note, he reportedly assured his patients he would be back at work "as soon as possible."

Citations: Zimbabwe seeking extradition of Cecil the lions killer from US (Mashable), Zimbabwe calls for extradition of Cecil the lion killer (Yahoo! News)