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Zimbabwe lifts hunting ban imposed after Cecil the lion's killing

By Andrew V. Pestano
Zimbabwe lifts hunting ban imposed after Cecil the lion's killing
Cecil the lion was killed outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe July 1, 2015. Zimbabwe imposed a ban days later, but reversed its ban on the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants on Monday. Screenshot courtesy of Bryan Orford/YouTube

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- About 10 days after the killing of Cecil the lion, which generated worldwide condemnation, Zimbabwe lifted its ban on the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants on Monday.

"The suspension of wildlife hunting in all other areas outside the parks estate has been lifted with immediate effect," Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said in a statement.

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The ban was first introduced about a week ago. Hunts for lions, leopards and elephants will require written confirmation from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and park staff will accompany the hunters.

President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe made his first public comments on Cecil's death on Monday.

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"He was yours to protect and you failed to protect him," Mugabe said. "There are vandals who come from all over, of course... some may be just ordinary visitors, but others who want to vandalize, to irregularly and illegally acquire part of our resources."

Cecil was lured from Zimbabwe's largest game reserve, Hwange National Park, where it is illegal to shoot animals, and killed July 1. Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer shot the animal with a bow and arrow, skinned and beheaded it and left its corpse. It is reported Palmer paid about $50,000 to hunt down Cecil.

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Zimbabwe has called for Palmer's extradition to face charges for violating poaching laws. The killing of Cecil has created worldwide outrage, forcing Palmer into hiding.

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A trophy hunting ban is still in effect in certain areas, such as the farm where Cecil was killed, as is a ban on the hunting of "collared iconic animals."

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