ZIMBABWE’S CORRUPT GOVERNMENT SEEKS EXTRADITION OF AMERICAN LION HUNTER: Secret Memo Shows U.S. Was Aware Of $45-$60 Million Trophy Hunting Business

So much outrage by so many corrupt people…it’s hard to keep track.

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One thing we know for sure…no matter where you are in the world, you know you can always count on American citizens to seek justice against anyone who would harm an animal. Ripping innocent human babies limbs off and harvesting their parts for profit…not so much…

justic for cecil

As usual, there is none more culpable of the recent event in Zimbabwe, which incidentally is and has been quite permitted by the local authorities as long as everyone’s palms are appropriately greased, than the US government, which years ago was fully aware that Americans were killing lions in Hwange National Park, but that its concern was not with the dead animals – no matter how hard the administration tries to feign empathy for the beheaded lion here and now – but with Americans getting caught in the act.

al.com – Zimbabwe intends to seek the extradition of an American dentist who killed a lion that was lured out of a national park and shot with a bow and a gun, and the process has already begun, a Cabinet minister said Friday.

“Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin,” Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister, told a news conference. “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable.”

On Tuesday, American hunter Walter James Palmer issued a statement saying he relied on his guides to ensure the hunt was legal. Two Zimbabweans – a professional hunter and a farm owner – have been arrested in the lion killing that garnered worldwide condemnation.

“There has been an outcry,” Muchinguri said. “Almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support. We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws.

“I have already consulted with the authorities within the police force who are responsible for arresting the criminal. We have certain processes we have to follow. Police should take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The processes have already started.”

The Cabinet minister said both Palmer and professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst violated the Parks and Wildlife Act, which controls the use of bow and arrow hunting. He said Palmer, who reportedly paid $50,000 to hunt the lion, also violated the act through financing an illegal hunt. The landowner violated the act because he “allowed a hunt to be conducted without a quota and necessary permit,” Muchinguri said.

Muchinguri accused Palmer of “a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA.”

Palmer is believed to have shot the lion with a bow on July 1 outside Hwange National Park, after it was lured onto private land with a carcass of an animal laid out on a car. Some 40 hours later, the wounded cat was tracked down and Palmer allegedly killed it with a gun.

Palmer, 55, is a dentist in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. In a note to his patients, he wrote: “I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting,” adding that he would resume his dental practice “as soon as possible.”

Zimbabwe Hunters On US Elephant Ivory Ban: 

As professional hunter Cliff Walker sets out before dawn in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi River valley to find a lion for his U.S. client, he has elephants on his mind.

Walker, 37, says a U.S. ban on ivory imports from Zimbabwe and Tanzania in February may cost him tens of thousands of dollars. While Gavin Shire, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services, said last month that the ban was “temporary,” Walker thinks it will dissuade clients from coming to the southern African nation.

elephant tusk

“I had six quotas for elephant trophy hunts for American clients,” Walker said in an interview last month in the Matetsi Lot 1 in northwestern Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls. “I spent a lot of money to get those quotas.”

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Director-General Edison Chidziya traveled to Washington last year to lobby against the ban, which government officials say will cost the southern African nation vital foreign exchange. Before the ban, Zimbabwe was expecting to earn about $60 million from trophy hunting this year, up from $45 million last year. Via: Bloomberg

website bannerImages from the luxuryhunts.com website

Zero HedgeReleased by Wikileaks:”QUIET DIPLOMACY” SUSPENDS ELEPHANT HUNTING IN NATIONAL PARKS – FOR NOW” – a Confidential memo sent on October 23, 2008 by the current US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James D. Mcgee, to the CIA.

In it we read that, as usual, there is none more culpable of the recent event in Zimbabwe, which incidentally is and has been quite permitted by the local authorities as long as everyone’s palms are appropriately greased, than the US government, which years ago was fully aware that Americans were killing lions in Hwange National Park, but that its concern was not with the dead animals – no matter how hard the administration tries to feign empathy for the beheaded lion here and now – but with Americans getting caught in the act. As has just happened.

But first, here is some background on how legal local poaching, whether it is for lions or elephants is. From the formerly classified memo:

Meeting with poloff and conoff on October 10, Bown said that it was unclear “how legal” these hunting operations were, since it appeared the hunters had permits issued by Parks to kill the animals, despite the provision in the National Parks Act that prohibits commercial hunting. The photographic safari operators indicated Parks had given several local and South African hunting companies concessions to kill elephants in Hwange if they met specific criteria: (1) total ivory weight less than 30 pounds, (2) young/adolescent males, (3) isolated areas (i.e. away from watering holes and main roads), and (4) controlled by Parks staff. Parks has never publicly stated these criteria or explained the operation. Frustrated photographic safari operators weighed and photographed many of the tusks at the Park’s ivory store in Hwange and found that many were over 30 pounds each. In one case, an operator claimed an American hunter killed an elephant with tusks weighing over 120 pounds. Photos also show some elephants were killed very near main roads and close to watering holes. In at least one reported case, a vehicle drove around the animal before the hunter killed it at close range. In emails to Mtsambiwa and Nhema, safari operators decried the unethical hunting both in terms of the detrimental ecological impact and the negative impact it would have on their own businesses.

… the safari operators also reported that some of the hunting guides had been issued hundreds of hunting permits for elephants in Hwange and other national parks in mid-to-late August. Normally, hunting permits are offered in an auction to all professional hunting guides. In contrast, Bown said these recent permits were issued through a non-transparent process to professional hunters of ill-repute, including some South African operators.

So both the Zimbabwe ambassador and the CIA knew Zimbabwe was permitting and flaunting its own “regulations” when it comes to poaching if the fee is good enough. And, since American citizens were involved, the fee most certainly was:

Despite Mtsambiwa’s assurances at our August meeting that Parks was only planning a management/training exercise for Parks staff, in early September poloff received an email from an American citizen in California, asking about an advertisement for an elephant hunt in Zimbabwe to hunt five elephants over ten days for USD 6,000 as part of a culling exercise. The meat from the animals would go to local villagers and hunters were expected to help with on-site butchering of the animals. This price is significantly less than most elephant hunting packages. Normally, elephant hunting excursions in Zimbabwe cost about USD 1,000 per day, plus a fee for each animal killed. The hunting operation was to be led by Zimbabwean Headman Sibanda and was arranged by Thomas Powers Internationale, based in Colorado.
Where was the disgust then? Oh yes, elephants are not cute animals about which Broadway musicals are written.

However, there is a problem, because reading on we find that not only did the government know about everything that was going on involving US poachers, quite legal and paying very well, involving the hunting of elephants, but also, drumroll, lions.

Bown, Save Valley Conservancy Director Clive Stockil and other conservationists opined in conversations with us that hunting permits were issued by Parks under intense pressure from its politicized board and ZANU-PF. Bown believed this frantic last grab at hunting revenue was one more aspect of ZANU-PF insiders’ efforts to strip assets and fill their pockets before losing power to the MDC. She said that the same small group of hunters involved in this operation had been consistently involved in unethical and marginally legal hunting. Bown had no evidence that they were involved specifically with sanctioned individuals within the Mugabe regime, but believed such connections were likely. According to Bown, the Zimbabwean professional hunters involved include Guy Whitall, Tim Schultz of African Dream Safaris, Headman Sibanda and Wayne Grant of Nyala Safaris, Evans Makanza, Alan Shearing, Buzz Charlton and James Macullam of Charlton Macullum Safaris, A.J. Van Heerden of Shashe Safaris, Barry Van Heerden of Big Game Safaris, and Lawrence Boha. (COMMENT: Numerous conservationists have suggested the Van Heerden brothers are involved in suspicious hunting and land deals with the Director of the Central Intelligence Organization, Happyton Bonyongwe, although none have provided proof of the relationship. END COMMENT.)

Additionally, one safari operator accused an American, by name, of killing a lion illegally and then smuggling its hide out through South Africa. Given the rampant smuggling of other animal products across Zimbabwe’s southern border (reftel), this is not unlikely. As reported in reftel, American hunting dollars are vital to Zimbabwe’s conservation efforts, but there are also serious risks that Americans could be implicated in smuggling and poaching operations.

And there you have it: while blaming Walter Palmer is easy, the truth is that at its core, the death of Cecil, as well as countless other lions, elephants, rhinos and other animals, is solely as a result of the Zimbabwe government’s corruption. A corruption, which the US government knew all about, and which also knew that US hunters were killing not only elephants but lions.

The government’s only real concern: the “serious risks that Americans could be implicated in smuggling and poaching operations.”

And now that an American has been implicated in poaching, what does the government do? It generously offers to “help the Zimbabwe government investigate the killing” of Cecil. Even though both Zimbabwe and the US government have tacitly approval of just this kind of behavior for years. Until something went wrong.


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