Zimbabwe’s wildlife minister says extradition is being sought for Walter Palmer, the Minneapolis-area big-game hunter and dentist implicated in the killing of Cecil, a prized research lion in Zimbabwe, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Oppah Muchinguri, environment, water and climate minister, said today, “We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws. … Police should take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The processes have already started.” She said almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition.
U.S. wildlife authorities said they been unable to contact Palmer. The head of Zimbabwe's safari industry association told the Star Tribune that he believes bribery was involved in the hunt because Palmer's guide did not have proper hunting licenses and permits. “There had to be [bribes],” said Emmanuel Fundira, president of Zimbabwe's Safari Operators Association. Fundira believes it is “highly, highly likely” that Palmer will be charged by Zimbabwe authorities, though he added that Palmer “probably committed the offense unknowingly.” Palmer's guide, Theo Bronkhorst, already has been charged in the killing. (The e-mail version of the Crime & Justice News story on the case yesterday incorrectly attributed information to the Minnesota Star Tribune; the correct title is the Minneapolis Star Tribune.)