Nov 162016

A court in Zimbabwe has thrown out charges against the professional hunter who helped Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer hunt Cecil the lion last year.

The court ruled that the charges against Theo Bronkhorst “were too vague to enable him to mount a proper defence,” BBC News reported. He had been charged with failing to stop an illegal hunt.

Palmer reportedly paid $54,000 to bow-hunt Cecil, a beloved, black-maned lion living in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. On July 1, 2015, Palmer shot Cecil with a bow on a farm outside the park, where the lion occasionally went to explore. Palmer’s team, which included Bronkhorst, tracked Cecil for another 11 hours before killing him.

Walter Palmer, a dentist from the U.S., shot and killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park a year ago. The lion’s death sparked outrage. Photograph by Brent Stapelkamp

Bronkhorst’s role as a professional hunter, often referred to as a “PH,” included arranging the trip, getting permits and licenses, seeing to the needs of the client, and conducting the hunt. It is the professional hunter’s job to make sure the hunt is conducted legally.

Park officials initially said that Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, the owner of the farm where Cecil was shot, did not have a permit or quota to kill the lion. Ndlovu also faced charges of allowing an illegal hunt to occur on his property. He posted bail last August, but the status of his case remains unclear.

Professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst, right, accompanies his lawyer to court last year after being charged with allowing an illegal hunt. The professional hunter is tasked with ensuring the hunt is conducted legally. Photograph by Zinyange Auntony, AFP, Getty Images

Palmer never ended up facing any charges. After Cecil was killed, Zimbabwe initially pressed to extradite him, calling him a “foreign poacher.” But within three months of the hunt, the government declined to file a formal extradition petition and said the documentation for the hunt was proper.

The killing of Cecil sparked outrage around the world and ignited a debate about trophy hunting. He was just one of hundreds of lions shot by trophy hunters in Zimbabwe over recent years, but his story connected with animal lovers around the world in a new way. Since his death, many airlines banned the transport of lion trophies and several countries restricted imports of lion trophies.

This article was first published by National Geographic on 11 Nov 2016.


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Marty Price


This is a disgrace!

Rick Broadhurst



and the “bribe-show” goes on … it’s a shame on menkind

Stephen Abarno

What corruption !!!Disgrace……………………………..

the corruption and disgust!! by the African courts is real and always has been!! Money first !! what lions and wildlife ?? the courts in Africa will NEVER CHANGE.. at least in my lifetime… this poacher bronkhost and palmer and his daughter … and to mention bronkhost and his farm employees…. ** justice beyond humane law !!” beyond…. African court of law !!! ** Justice for Cecil ** continues !!! Your decision Africa court of law = disgust, corruption, typical and Money rules !! ( if I could relocate every lion, lioness, elephant and so many other wildlife I would… Read more »
That corruption is not in the least limited to African courts. Several cases of intentional and cruel poaching and trapping of predators in the USA were met in the past few years with extremely minimal fines, or no fines or imprisonment at all, sending the signal to poachers that they are essentially free to murder and destroy the vital predators on this continent. Up in Scandinavia, the same goes. There is an astonishing fiction generated by trophy hunters and those who parasitically live through their money, that killing large, endangered species is the way to ensure their survival. Africa has… Read more »
Mark McCandlish

Well said, Makuye. Well said.


Disgusting – corruption – and hunter is scum.

Arlene Labbe


Diane Holsinger

How awful He was not charged with the killing of Cecil the Lion

Leigh Lofgren

shocking and he should have been charged and punished and I would also ban him from any further hunting or anything else in the country.

No doubt another corrupt deal somewhere down the line! The African way!!!! How tragic there are so many Cecil’s and way too many hunters like Palmer, Bronkhorst and other blood thirsty murderers! One day this will be judges as crimes against nature! The sad part is that it is taking way too long!


Whats new… this is Africa… corruption rules!

Sadly Janet, the corruption is world-wide to varying degrees

Delbert Smith

To bad that no one in Zim. had any clue about the outcast older lion. Yes it was an out cast from the pride. Also the younger lion had bitten the older lions testicles hard enough the older lion was going to die from an infection. Those of us who know about this verses you bunch of leaf lickers already knew there were no charges against Bronkhurst…. But you managed to cause problems for something legally done and YOU SHOULD PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES.

HEY – you show me where it said this animal had been injured by another lion! Regardless does not take away from the fact that this piece of trash hunter should have been convicted. Again shows the corruption in Africa. So yes if you want to call me a leaf licker – you piece of trash go a head.

Limp wristed name-calling again Delbert? Be careful, it shows your low level of intelligence!

There is a huge difference between what nature does and what some of mankind does to nature. Nature does what it does to manage it’s own extremely well and none of it it done for fun. Mankind however has a number of people with more money than sense, or will arrange anything for money, things that are done purely for fun.

What goes around Delbert, comes around. Remember that!

Mark McCandlish

Delbert, can you site one public document (including the hunter’s permit) where this fact was mentioned? I have seen nothing on this in any of the reporting to date. I’m trying to stay objective here, since, (even though I am an animal lover… “leaf licker”?) I’ve shot or euthanized wounded wildlife myself to end suffering.

Like fox hunting over in the UK – It’s illegal but the knobs with the money who get their kicks from hunting and torturing the wildlife, also have control over the police and government who turn a blind eye or, in Cecil’s case, pretend there is not enough evidence to charge. They have to be seen to be doing something but it’s effectively a slap on the wrist for appearances. It is SO WRONG that money can still placate some people’s morals. Would they be so easily swayed if it were a pedophile paying – it is just as vile… Read more »
Robert Piller