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Reporter asks White House For Comment on Death of Cecil the Lion

• July 29, 2015 1:54 pm

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A reporter asked the White House to comment on the killing of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist today.

"There's been a growing outcry over the killing of this lion in Zimbabwe, allegedly by an American dentist," she said. "The US is looking into the incident, possibly working with Zimbabwean officials who have called to bring this person to justice. Is the White House and President Obama aware of this killing, and what could the President do at an executive level to possibly keep US trophy hunters from traveling to Africa and committing these acts?"

"I don't have much for you," the spokesperson replied.

The lion hunter, Walter Palmer, is facing steep prosecution for the lion's death. The Guardian reports,

There are mounting calls for the prosecution of an American dentist who shot dead one of Africa’s most famous lions, as two other men involved in the hunt appeared in court in Zimbabwe to face poaching charges.

Walter Palmer, who runs a dental practice in Minnesota and hunts big game in his spare time, is accused of illegally killing Cecil, a protected lion, in Zimbabwe on a $50,000 (£32,000) hunt.

Professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst, and Honest Ndlovu, a local landowner, appeared in court in Victoria Falls on Wednesday.

Cecil, a popular attraction among international visitors to Hwange national park, was lured outside the reserve’s boundaries by bait and killed earlier this month.

"Both the professional hunter and landowner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt," the Zimbabwean parks authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement made no mention of Palmer. But the charity Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said Palmer and Bronkhorst had gone out at night with a spotlight and tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil into range.

In a statement to the Guardian, Palmer confirmed he had been in Zimbabwe in early July on a bow-hunting trip. "To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted," he said.