Last updated: 12:01 AM ET, Sun August 02 2015

Zimbabwe Enacts Hunting Restrictions After Illegal Lion Slaying

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | August 01, 2015

Zimbabwe Enacts Hunting Restrictions After Illegal Lion Slaying

The slaying of Cecil the lion seems to have struck a nerve.

In the wake of international outrage after an American hunter illegally hunted the beast, Zimbabwean officials put major restrictions on hunting in the country Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

"Hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect," Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said in a statement. The announcement also said any such hunts could only happen if confirmed and authorized by the head of the wildlife authority and with the accompaniment of park staff.

The wildlife authority head must also approve Bow and arrow hunts before they can proceed.

Officials said it was necessary to tighten hunting regulations outside the park "following the killing of the iconic lion Cecil."

Reported by TravelPulse’s Donald Wood during the week, Cecil was killed by Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer in a hunt that the American insists was legal, as per his guides. Not buying Palmer’s story, Zimbabwean authorities are seeking his extradition.

The hunt is believed to have started July 1 outside of Hwange National Park, a favorite area for hunters because of its abundance of wildlife, Geoffrey Matipano, conservation director for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority told the AP. Lured onto private land by an animal carcass, Palmer allegedly shot the animal with a bow, then the animal was tracked down, then dispatched by Palmer with a firearm.

Two Zimbabweans involved in the hunt, a professional hunter and a farm owner, have been arrested for the killing.

However, not everyone is pleased with these new regulations.

Emmanuel Fundira, chairman of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, told the AP the ban could cost the association some business, but did say the measures were necessary to protect the wildlife. "Hunting brings in no less than $40 million a year," he said.

Researcher Brent Stampelkamp asserted to the AP that news items on Saturday stating that Jericho, a fellow lion and companion of Cecil, was shot dead could be false. Stapelkamp said the satellite collar indicated that the lion was alive and moving around. This contradicts a Facebook post by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force group, who said the big cat was deceased.

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