Britain yesterday offered to help Zimbabwe to end poaching following the killing of the iconic Cecil the lion near the Hwange National Park early this month.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Foreign Office minister Grant Shapps wrote to Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri asking what more could be done to stop poaching.
Sharps reportedly described Cecil as ‘an icon of the wildlife world.’
“I was distressed to read media reports about Cecil the lion being illegally killed by hunters in Zimbabwe earlier this month, as I am sure were you,” he wrote.
“It is clear that we share an ambition to secure the protection of threatened species, and in working towards an end to poaching and other illegal practices.
“I would welcome your thoughts on how we could work more closely together to help achieve our shared objectives on this issue.”
Cecil, a 13 year-old collared lion lured to Antonitte Farm in the Gwayi area before it was killed with a bow and arrow by American dentist Walter Palmer.
Theo Bronkhorst (52) of Bushman Safaris was on Wednesday given $1 000 bail for helping Palmer kill the lion. Palmer has received worldwide condemnation for the brutal slaying of the lion and reignited debate on trophy hunting.
Cecil was popular with tourists and was an integral part of a research to help protect lions from extinction.
Meanwhile, Hwange prosecutors were yesterday still trying to figure out how to charge one of the suspects in the killing of Cecil the lion.
Farm owner Honest Ndlovu was named as an accomplice and appeared in court Wednesday, but unlike Bronkhorst, he was not charged.
“We are still waiting for the state to charge him as no formal charges have yet to be laid against my client,” his lawyer Tonderai Mukuku told Associated Press.
“The Hwange office said it is liaising with the Harare office together with the police to come up with an appropriate charge. Maybe next week.”
Ndlovu and Bronkhorst were accused of aiding Palmer, who reportedly paid $50 000 to track and kill the lion. — STAFF REPORTER/AP