Zimbabwe Court Drops Charges on Cecil Hunting Guide

After all the controversy last year when an American dentist killed a beloved black-maned African lion named Cecil, turns out nobody will be charged with anything illegal. Now the guide who led the hunter to the big cat has been cleared of all charges.

Zimbabwean officials had already declined to bring charges against Walter Palmer, the American from Minnesota who paid for the hunt outside the Hwange National Park last July. The story went that Palmer and his local hunting partner allegedly lured the lion out of the park where they shot it with an arrow.

But on Friday, a Zimbabwean court threw out the charges against the local hunter accused of failing to stop the killing of the animal. His lawyers argued that Palmer had a license to hunt the lion so was technically no illegal action to be stopped. To that point, the court agreed, according to Reuters.

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The killing of Cecil the lion and the international outcry it triggered has had lasting effects. African big game hunting by Americans is down considerably over the past year, according to reports, marking a substantial loss in revenue to government agencies and local economies that rely on international hunters.

In the case of Cecil, the lion had been collared and was well known by local authorities who considered it a value to drawing tourists to the wildlife refuge.