Lion hunter hired by Minnesota dentist enters not guilty plea

Theo Bronkhorst (right) and his lawyer Givemore Muvhuringi. Source: Zimparks
Theo Bronkhorst (right) and his lawyer Givemore Muvhuringi. Source: Zimparks

A hunter accused of helping a tourist from Minnesota kill Zimbabwe's most famous lion is out on bail. Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to prevent an unlawful hunt in the death of Cecil the Lion.

Bronkhorst and farm owner Honest Ndlovu both face felony poaching charges. Ndlovu will appear before a judge at a later date as officials search for justice for those involved in the lion's death.

"We lost an icon, a lion, a male lion, which was popularly known and endeared as Cecil,” said Emanuel Fundira, president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe.

Bronkhorst and Ndlovu were hired by Bloomington, Minn. dentist Walter James Palmer to guide his hunt on July 6. In a letter to his patients, Palmer says he was not aware the lion was protected, relying on his local guides to ensure he conducted a legal hunt. His actions have garnered international outrage, and the general reaction from those at home is that Palmer needs to do something to right this wrong.

Zimbabwe wildlife officials say Palmer has also been accused of poaching. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stepped in, expressing deep concern saying it should be ensured that wild animals roam the savanna for generations to come.

This report submitted by Paul Tilsley / Fox News Africa

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