“I have consulted with the authorities within the police force who are responsible for arresting the criminal. We have certain processes we have to follow. Police will take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The process has already begun.” (Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe Minister of Environment)
In the city of Harare the Zimbabwe government has voiced its first official comment on the killing of that country’s most famous lion. The Environment Minister, Oppah Muchinguri, said this at a highly anticipated press conference:
“Unfortunately it is too late to apprehend the foreign poacher. 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 held accountable.”
Earlier in the week Doctor Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist, who routinely travels the world in order to shoot and kill exotic animals, responded to the uproar by stating once again through his attorney that he had relied on the safari guides he’d hired to follow proper permit procedures to make the hunt a legal one. The guides – one who owned property next to the game sanctuary, and the other a professional hunter – were arrested last week on felony poaching charges and are now out on bail.
The killing of the lion has generated an outcry that resonates worldwide. In fact, in Bloomington Minnesota, Palmer’s dental clinic has remained closed because the doctor has gone into hiding.
A White House petition requesting that Palmer be extradited to Zimbabwe may receive a response from the Obama administration. The petition needed to receive 100,000 signatures by August 27 to get a response. It had more than 175,000 signatures by Friday afternoon.
The U.S. State Department confirms that as of the year 2000, the United States and the Republic of Zimbabwe do have an extradition treaty protocol in place, although no one could recall that any extradition between the countries has occurred.
The killing and beheading of Cecil the lion hit headlines across the globe after the carcass was found on July 3. Palmer is believed to have shot the lion with a crossbow on July 1 on a farm near Hwange National Park, and then tracked the bleeding animal for nearly two days before killing him.
“500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support. We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws,” Muchinguri said.
Here’s another look:
* * *