The US dentist who killed a lion in Zimbabwe should be extradited to face charges, Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.
Walter Palmer’s extradition was being sought so that he could “be held accountable for his illegal action,” she said.
Mr Palmer, from Minnesota, is believed to have paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to hunt the lion, known as Cecil.
He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
At a news conference in the capital, Harare, Ms Muchinguri referred to Mr Palmer, who has faced a huge internet backlash over the killing, as a “foreign poacher”.
Two Zimbabwean men have been implicated in the death of the lion.
A professional hunter has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt – which he denies – and prosecutors are deciding on the exact charges the landowner should face.
Cecil the lion
- A major tourist attraction in Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve
- The 13-year-old animal was renowned for being friendly towards visitors
- Recognisable because of his large size and distinctive black mane
- Led two prides containing six lionesses and 12 cubs along with another lion, Jericho
- Was being monitored as part of an Oxford University study into lion conservation