The man who owns the land where Cecil the Lion was shot and killed is facing criminal charges in the much-loved lion’s death.
Honest Trymore Ndlovu is the land owner where Cecil the Lion was shot and killed in Zimbabwe. Walter Palmer, a dentist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is accused of killing the lion that was so popular at Hwange National Park. Ndlovu and Theo Bronkhorst, the professional hunter who lured Cecil away from the safety of Hwange park, are facing criminal charges for the illegal hunt.
Ndlovu and Bronkhorst are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Honest Trymore Ndlovu Owned the Land Where Cecil Was Killed
Honest Trymore Ndlovu owns Antoinette Farm, the land where Cecil the Lion was lured onto before he was killed, according to a statement posted jointly by The Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority and the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. Antoinette Farm is located in the Gawyi Conservancy in the Hwange district. Ndlovu is a prominent farmer in the Gwayi Conservancy.
2. Ndlovu is Facing Criminal Charges for His Part in the Illegal Hunt
Ndlovu is facing criminal poaching charges, along with Theo Bronkhorst, for the illegal hunt. Zane Bronkhorst is still wanted for questioning. Both Ndlovu and Theo Bronkhorst are scheduled to appear at the Hwange Magistrates court on Wednesday, according to ZimEye. Each man might have to serve up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Sky News reported. They might also face a $20,000 fine each, New Zimbabwe reported.
The charity Lion Aid explained that the hunt was illegal because the area hadn’t been assigned a lion quota. With the proper quota, it is legal in Zimbabwe to bait lions, shoot them with a bow and arrow, and even lure them off a park. But Ndlovu did not have a lion allocated for his land’s hunting quota for 2015, making the hunt illegal.
3. Cecil the Lion was Lured Away from Hwange Park and Killed by an American Dentist
Cecil the Lion was lured away from Hwange park with bait that, according to Lion Aid, had been set for a leopard. Walter Palmer, the Amerian dentist from Minneapolis, killed the lion and was reportedly “furious” when he discovered the lion had been collared. Palmer has since publicly apologized for the shooting and stated that he regrets killing Cecil. Sky News reported that Palmer thought everything about the hunt was legal and he had no idea the lion was a favorite of the region. Interestingly, The New York Times reported that in 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty for hunting a black bear outside an authorized zone and trying to pass it off as being killed somewhere else.
4. Zimbabwe Authorities Say the Accused May Have Been Planning to Try to Pass Off the Hunt as Legal
Theo Bronkhorst (pictured above) and Ndlovu tried to cover up their illegal hunt. Bronkhorst tried to destroy Cecil’s collar in order to try to cover up the killing, Lion Aid stated. ZimEye reported that Bronkhorst and possibly Ndlovu further planned to hide the illegal kill by doing a quota transfer, recording that Cecil was shot in a different area where a quota was available. Cecil’s collar had a GPS tracker and recorded where he was shot, so the cover-up was not successful. Bronkhorst’s hunting license has been revoked and the lion trophy has been confiscated.
5. Cecil Had Been Collared for a Research Project
Cecil the Lion was 13 years old and had been collared for a research project by Oxford University. He was likely the largest lion at Hwange national park and never bothered any of the tourists. A petition has been started online seeking justice for Cecil and it has more than 253,000 signatures.