Zimbabwe intends to investigate the southern African country’s hunting industry to “weed out undesirable elements” following the killing of Cecil the lion, a government official said.
“We want to investigate the whole industry to make sure this case is isolated and that we don’t allow things to get out of hand,” Edison Chidziya, director general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, told reporters in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday. Chidziya spoke after meeting with hunters, guides and safari operators.
Zimbabwe has requested the extradition of Walter Palmer, an American dentist, who shot Cecil last month. The 13-year-old lion was allegedly lured out of the Hwange National Park. Authorities have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in some areas near the reserve.
Investigations have shown that there may be other incidents involving the illegal hunting of animals, and cases are being pursued, Chidziya said.
Zimbabwe has a lion population of 2,000. It has issued quotas this year allowing for the hunting of 70 of the animals. The measures also provide for 50 cheetahs, 500 leopards, 200 crocodiles and 500 elephants to be hunted, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
“It is important to weed out undesirable elements who are tarnishing the image of the industry, since this has far-reaching repercussions not only in the tourism industry, but the country at large,” Chidziya said.