The US dentist who sparked international outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe will not be prosecuted because he had the legal authority to hunt, officials say.
According to the BBC Walter Palmer had admitted killing the lion with a bow and arrow, in July, but had always maintained he had done so legally.
Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said recently that Palmer could not be charged as all his “papers were in order”. She had previously called for Palmer to be extradited and face prosecution.
“We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Muchinguru said.
She said Zimbabwe would now be reviewing how it issues hunting licences.
Palmer’s Zimbabwean guide, Theo Bronkhurst, is still facing trial on a charge of failing to prevent an illegal hunt.
Cecil the lion, a 13-year-old animal, was well known in the Hwange National Park as being friendly towards visitors and distinctive because of his large size and black mane.