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Hunting operator charged over killing of Cecil the lion

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By Everton Gayle  with AFP
Hunting operator charged over killing of Cecil the lion

A hunting operator is to appear in court in Zimbabwe for poaching and being involved in the death of Cecil, the star lion in the Hwange National Park.

The lion, a 13-year-old known for his distinctive black mane, was lured out of the national park by a dead animal attached to a car.

He was then shot with a bow, which wounded him, and finished off with a gunshot, after 40 hours of stalking,

The hunter is said to be a dentist from Minnesota, who is believed to have paid $55,000 (€50,000) to shoot and kill the much-loved lion.

The Zimbabwe National Parks said: “Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, is facing criminal charges for allegedly killing a collared lion on Antoinette farm in Gwayi Conservancy, Hwange district on 1 July 2015.”

Zane Bronkhorst, his son, who holds a license professional hunting, is also wanted on suspicion of complicity.

Johnny Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said the killing was “tragic”.

““He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at,” he told the BBC.

The lion had been “baited” out of the park, a tactic which hunters used to portray their action as legal, Mr Rodrigues said.

The landowner whose property borders the national park has also been charged.