Trial of lion Cecil hunting guide delayed

2015-08-05 13:38
Theo Bronkhorst. (File: AFP)

Theo Bronkhorst. (File: AFP)

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Hwange, Zimbabwe (dpa) - The trial of a Zimbabwean accused of assisting a US tourist in killing Cecil the lion has been delayed by seven weeks, following a court decision on Wednesday.

Hunting guide Theo Bronkhorst appeared in a packed courtroom in the town of Hwange on Wednesday morning, located 700km south-west of the capital, Harare.

His lawyer Givemore Muvhingi requested a later start date for the trial, which is now scheduled to begin on September 28. Bronkhorst was also granted the assistance of an advocate.

The death of Cecil, a wild lion popular among locals and tourists, sparked global outrage, which was predominantly aimed at the hunter, Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer, who was bombarded by angry messages and initially forced into hiding as a result.

"I do not feel I have done anything wrong," Bronkhorst told US broadcaster NBC on Tuesday.

Skinned and beheaded

Bronkhurst said he was unaware of the lion's protected status. Cecil wore a tracking collar as part of a wildlife research project funded by Oxford University.

"We have been pulled into something we are not happy with," he said.

Last week, Bronkhorst and farm owner Honest Trymore Ndlovu were released on bail of $1 000 each. Ndlovu is expected to appear in court later this month.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is applying for the extradition of Palmer.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service last week also opened an investigation into the killing, after Palmer admitted to hunting down the animal.

Palmer was taken by Bronkhorst and Ndlovu in early July to Hwange National Park for bowhunting at night. After locating Cecil with a spotlight, they lured him out of the park with meat tied to their car.

The first arrow, shot by Palmer, only wounded the lion. The hunters then tracked him down for 40 hours before killing him with a gunshot. Cecil was skinned and beheaded.

Palmer allegedly paid $50 000 for the hunt.

Read more on:    theo bronkhorst  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  animals

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