Zimbabwe is appealling for the extradition of U.S. dentist Walter Palmer, who it accuses of illegally killing Cecil, its celebrated lion. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The American dentist who killed Cecil the lion is a "foreign poacher" who paid for an illegal hunt and he should be extradited to Zimbabwe to face justice, environment minister Oppah Muchinguri said on Friday. In Harare's first official comments since Cecil's killing grabbed world headlines this week, Muchinguri said the Prosecutor General had already started the process to have 55-year-old Walter Palmer extradited from the United States. Muchinguri, a 91-year-old veteran from President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, described Cecil - a black-maned lion well-known to foreign tourists in the Hwange National Park - as an "iconic attraction". "We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal actions," Muchinguri told reporters at a news conference. Palmer has admitted killing the 13-year-old predator, who was fitted with a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study, but said in a statement he had hired professional guides and believed all the necessary hunting permits were in order. He has not been sighted since his identity was revealed this week by Zimbabwean conservationists. Despite the global media coverage of Cecil's killing, the big cat's untimely demise has gone largely unnoticed in Zimbabwe, where average annual income is just over $1,000 and unemployment is higher than 80 percent.