Two Zimbabweans Are Reportedly Charged For Poaching Cecil The Lion

Dr. Walter Palmer, the bowhunting dentist, surely received the brunt of the criticism over killing Cecil, Hwange National Park's famous lion. However, he was not the only man responsible for the beloved creature's death.

Bronkhorst reportedly paid Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter, and Honest Ndlovu, a private game park operator, $50,000 to hunt the protected beast.

After luring Cecil off the wildlife reserve, Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow, leaving the animal wounded and alive.

The hunters then tracked the animal a full 40 miles out of the boundaries of the authorized hunting area before they killed, skinned and beheaded him.

The men even went so far as to tow the remainder of Cecil's body back within the permitted hunting grounds where Palmer later falsely claimed to have made the kill.

Bronkhorst and Ndlovu, who are Zimbabwe locals, attended court on Wednesday to face poaching charges.

If they are convicted, each faces a sizable $20,000 fine and up to a decade in prison.

Following their court appearance, both men were released on a bail of $1,000 each.

In a statement, scientists from the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, who were observing the lion via a GPS tracking collar, expressed their horror over the loss.

They stated,

Insofar as this happened illegally, we consider it deeply reprehensible.

The actions of Bronkhorst, Ndlovu and Palmer will affect not only Cecil and his admirers but perhaps the lion's four male cubs, too.

As the male members of Cecil's pride vie for who will take his place at the helm, there is a chance they may kill his successors.

Citations: Two Zimbabwe men charged with poaching over killing of Cecil the lion (New York Daily News), Two Zimbabweans freed on bail in death of Cecil the lion (CNN)