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Published On: Sat, Aug 1st, 2015

Somaliland:its not done with the haunting of a sick dentist

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Stuffed animals left by protesters block the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota. Dentist Walter James Palmer, an American hunter, has been accused of killing the lion without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured it out of Hwange National Park. Reuters/David Bailey

Stuffed animals left by protesters block the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota. Dentist Walter James Palmer, an American hunter, has been accused of killing the lion without a permit after paying $50,000 to two people who lured it out of Hwange National Park. Reuters/David Bailey

by Venatrix Fulmen (ecoterra) – 31. July 2015

Theo Bronchorst, a so-called professional hunter with Bushman (sic!) Safaris in Zimbabwe and holder of professional licence Nr. 553 was already facing criminal charges (VIC FALLS Police CR 27/07/2015) in the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, when the case went viral on the internet.

It is clear now that he colluded with the specific land owner, one Honest Trymore Ndlovu of Antoinette Farm, as well as another professional hunter holding licence Nr. 558, one Zane Bronkhorst, and that all were involved in the illegal kill of the iconic Lion in order to obtain between USD50,000 and USD55,000 from the US-American dentist, named in USA Passport no: 445469954 as one WALTER JAMES PALMER of 11413 Larding Road, Eden Prairie, Minnesota (MN) 55347 – United States of America (USA), who regularly does travel to Africa to kill wild animals for sport and trophy.
Therefore, all persons implicated in this case are now requested officially to appear in front of a Zimbabwe court facing poaching charges. The Government of Zimbabwe has confirmed that there was no legal licence issued and demands the extradition of Palmer from the USA (see statement below).

Theo Bronkhorst’s Licence was suspended already on 27th July 2015 by the Director General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Mr. E. Chidziya, and the lion trophy, i.e. the head and the skin with the claws of Cecil, have reportedly now been confiscated.

Walter James Palmer, whose dental practice has been occupied by protesters, is wanted by US authorities for questioning, since an official investigation – as we demanded – had been launched also in the USA, but the present whereabouts of Palmer are allegedly not known, though his representatives have been contacted.

The public opinion on such killing of wildlife has changed also in the USA since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, an ardent hunter of African wildlife like Winston Churchill, who maimed tons of Rhinos in Sudan or pathological game-shooters like Prince Philip and his family or the ailing former Spanish King, who became infamous for his Elephant kills, and many people, who are appalled by the Zimbabwean Lion-kill story, engage now in hunting the psychologically obviously disturbed dentist.

But will that help nature protection efforts in Africa and elsewhere?

Though the United States of America and the Republic of Zimbabwe have an extradition treaty in place, and the Zimbabwe Government demands that he must appear, it seems rather unlikely that Palmer ever will have to face a court in Zimbabwe, a country with an abhorrent human rights record, where the chance for a fair and just trial is assumed to be very slim.

In addition, efforts are already under-way to prepare a case against Palmer inside the USA, though the U.S. Endangered Species Act bars maiming and killing endangered species only within America. But since the affair still makes waves on the so-called social media, a way shall be found to punish the key culprit of the Lion kill within the US and thereby to calm the global outrage. If that happens it is hoped that the proposed fine of only USD20,000 for bringing trophy-parts of an non-licenced and therefore illegal kill in a foreign country into the USA would startle another storm on the internet.

Actually, an American sports-killer could in general right now legally ship the trophy parts of the lion he killed back to Minnesota, since the U.S. still has failed to classify the African lion as endangered or threatened and allows even the import of – legally taken – lion trophies. Maybe the viral protest could be calmed by a more severe charge for allegedly bribing the professional guides and the land-owner, whose plot borders Hwange National Park, the home-range of that Lion, but the evidence for such will be difficult to obtain, since Palmer claims that his guides had the permits in order and paid them the agreed fee as outfitters. So far nobody has pointed out that a hunter has to make sure himself that he holds a legal permit for everything he does in a hunt.

Tackle the real problem

Lawyers and authorities try now hard to wrench this case of a blunted and horrible killing from the hands of an internationally outraged public, used by many to jump on the bandwagon though they never engaged in the earlier campaigns e.g. against the horrible killing of cached lions, abited leopards or bread white rhinos in South Africa for sports, and it is feared that the real problem is brushed aside again.

This problem has arisen out of the fact that since the first days of the struggle for Africa and other wealthy continents, the indigenous people of Africa and elsewhere have been alienated by the colonial powers from their wildlife and common habitat. Colonial governments robbed the aboriginal landowners of their wildlife by imposing selfish hunting as well as pseudo-conservation laws, which left the real people of the land out of the equation. Governments of thereafter independent countries – especially in Africa – have until today not overcome that colonial burden.

That one iconic lion, who certainly was a famous tourist attraction, distinct from other lions by being collard and a research subject of scientists from a Oxford University project at Hwange, surely created an international outrage, which is important to show the sick side of blood-sports like sports-hunting, but the case must evolve to trigger the tackling of the core-problem, if justice shall be done and real progress achieved.

A complete overhaul of the colonial and post-colonial injustices and subsequent flawed laws concerning the governance of the remaining wildlands and the indigenous people must come forward, if the larger picture concerning the sad state of wildlife and nature protection in many countries and human rights of the traditional guardians of pristine nature shall not remain blurred .

Real protection of nature, which anywhere will only be achieved together with the relevant people, must become international policy and indigenous peoples must be at the helm to preserve their natural heritage in its own rights and for future generations of people, who depend on it.

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