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Cecil lion hunt guide appears in court

The Zimbabwean hunter who led the expedition that killed Cecil the lion appeared in court on Wednesday on charges of organising an illegal hunt.

Theo Bronkhorst, who runs a safari company, denies any wrongdoing over the hunt in July when US dentist Walter Palmer paid to shoot the lion with a bow and arrow.

Zimbabwean officials have called for Palmer to be extradited from the US over the "illegal" killing, claiming he broke the law by financing an illegal hunt.

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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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