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Professional hunter charged in Cecil the lion killing

Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst in Hwange magistrates court Credit: Reuters

A professional hunter was charged today in Zimbabwe for failing to prevent the unlawful killing of Cecil the lion, whose death has caused widespread revulsion.

Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to "failing to supervise, control and take reasonable steps to prevent an unlawful hunt" in Hwange court and was bailed for $1,000 and ordered to surrender his passport.

He is due to return on August 5 for trial. If found guilty, he could be find $20,000 or jailed for up to 10 years.

American dentist, Walter James Palmer, who paid $50,000 to kill the oldest and most famous lion in Zimbabwe, said in a statement that he believed the hunt was legal.

Parks officials said that game park owner Honest Ndlovu, who is also accused of assisting Palmer, will first testify for the state before being charged.

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First pictures of two accused over Cecil the lion killing

These are the two men accused of illegal poaching after Zimbabwe's best loved lion Cecil was shot dead.

Game park owner Honest Ndlovu and hunter Theo Bronkhurst are accused of illegal poaching. Credit: Reuters

Game park owner Honest Ndlovu and hunter Theo Bronkhurst are accused of illegal poaching after it was alleged a US dentist paid them £32,000 so he could shoot the lion.

Cecil, who was a much-loved tourist attraction and the subject of a university study, was then skinned and beheaded.

Walter Palmer from Minneapolis admitted killing Cecil but claims he was told the hunt was legal. It is not yet known if he will also face charges over the killing.

Protesters leave stuffed toys outside dentist's practice

Credit: EBU

Protesters have left stuffed animal toys outside the dental practice owned by the US hunter who killed Cecil the lion.

The River Duff Dental Practice in Bloomington, Minneapolis has been forced to close following the backlash against Walter Palmer.

Two men are due to appear in court in Zimbabwe charged with poaching offences over Cecil's death.

There are mounting calls to prosecute Palmer who claims he thought the hunt had been organised legally.

Two to appear in court over Cecil the lion killing

Cecil the lion was a popular attraction for tourists. Credit: EBU

Two men are due to appear in court today over the killing of Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion.

Hunter Theo Bronkhurst and private game park owner Honest Ndlovu are charged with poaching offences.

US dentist Walter Palmer wounded Cecil with a bow and arrow but the 13-year-old lion with not shot dead for another 40 hours.

He claims to his knowledge Bronkhurst and Ndlovu had organised the trip legally and said he had not been contacted by Zimbabwean authorities.

But Ndlovu was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for this year, according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

If convicted, Bronkhurst and Ndlovu will be required to pay $20,000 in compensation and the court may impose an additional jail term.

Zimbabwe issues annual permits allowing foreign hunters to kill wildlife saying this allows it to raise money for conservation.

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US dentist who shot Cecil 'is not even a human being'

Angry animal lovers claim the US dentist who shot Cecil the lion is "not even a human being".

Christopher Flugge said: "If you're going to do something like that, be a man and actually go out in the wild where the animal has a chance to get some revenge against you.

"Any hunter that's worth a damn will probably find it incredibly disrespectful and repulsive. He's not even a human being as far as I'm concerned."

Jean Flugge added: "It upsets me that people can be so stupid to take a life like that, whether it's human or not."

Hunting in Africa must be stopped, say campaigners

Animal campaigners have called for an immediate stop to hunting in Africa after one of it's most famous lions Cecil was shot dead.

Dr Pieter Kat, Trustee of charity LionAid, told ITV News: "Unfortunately Cecil is not the first lion to die in this fashion. He is not even the 101st lion to die in this fashion.

"What we need to do is determine how many lions are left in Africa. We at LionAid say there's 15,000, but that's still probably way over the top.

"Until and unless we have a proper lion count, we just cannot afford to take off any more lions, whether the hunters call it sustainable or trophy hunting. We must put a stop to this immediately."

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