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Zimbabwe Suspends Hunting of Lions Outside National Park Amid Cecil Controversy

Via Wikimedia

Zimbawbwe hunts for rare animals have been suspended except with written permission in areas outside national parks.

Amidst the global uproar over the killing of "Cecil" the lion by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has announced the suspension of hunting for lions, leopards and elephants in close proximity to Hwange National Parks in a release on their website Saturday.

Effective immediately, the announcement says: "Hunting of lions, leopards and elephant in areas outside of Hwange National Parks has been suspended with immediate effect. All such hunts will only be conducted if confirmed and authorized in writing by the Director-General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, and only if accompanied by parks staff whose costs will be met by the landowner."

In addition, bowhunting has also been suspended except with the same written permission. The Parks and Wildlife Management authority used the opportunity to remind hunters that the transfer of hunting quotas from one area to another will be considered poaching.

Online rumors have run rampant that Palmer and his guides claimed they had a quota to take the lion in an area Zimbabwe officials claim they did not. "The Authority will not hesitate to arrest, prosecute, and ban for life any persons including professional hunters, clients and land owners who are caught on the wrong side of the law," the release states.

The release says that the suspension is a part of a "crackdown to weed out any undesirable elements." The Parks and Wildlife Authority also announced the arrest of a Headman Sibanda, who is alleged to have violated unspecified hunting regulations.

The news of the suspension came as a new bit of outrage about lion hunting was just starting. On Saturday, conflicting reports claimed that another lion named Jericho, who was often seen with Cecil, was also killed by a poacher on Saturday.

Oxford University posted a photo taken early this morning that confirmed the animal was still alive and well.

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Zimbabwe Suspends Hunting of Lions Outside National Park Amid Cecil Controversy