Bronkhorst and his co-defendant, farm owner Honest Trymore Ndlovu, who were arrested for illegally hunting Cecil, appear in court. The Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, has revoked Bronkhurst’s license. Association President:
Ethics are certainly against baiting. Animals are supposed to be given a chance of a fair chase. In fact, it was not a hunt at all. The animal was baited and that is not how we do it. It is not allowed.
The proceedings are delayed because prosecutors are “making their assessments”. If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison in Zimbabwe. Later Bronkhurst is released on a $1000 bond.
Bronkhorst, the guide, says that after killing Cedric, Palmer wanted to hunt an elephant:
We then went back to my place near Hwange. The client asked if we would find him an elephant [whose tusk weighs] larger than 63 pounds, which is a very large elephant, but I told him I would not be able to find one so big, so the client left the next day and went to Bulawayo for the night and then flew out [to Johannesburg] midday the following day.
He also describes the events of Cedric’s hunt:
We set off quite late, with the sun down, and found the carcass of an elephant which we dragged and moved into the long grass and used for bait,” he said. “We then established the ‘tree blind’ [a camouflaged hide made of tree branches and grass]…Once we were established, and it was quiet, we first saw a lioness go past. And then a huge male – Cecil – came into view behind her. He was a magnificent animal…The client then fired using a bow and arrow, and it went away into the long grass. This was about 10 pm…We found it and it was wounded, and the client then shot it, with his bow and arrow, and killed it
He says the hunting party was “devastated” to discover that Cecil was wearing a GPS collar. But instead of turning it in to authorities, Bronkhorst says he panicked, taking the tracking device off and putting it in a tree.
I wish I had taken the collar.
While waiting for a court appearance, Bronkhurst says he did nothing wrong because he had a legal permit and that he will be vindicated in court. He claims he is the fall guy.
Well, I guess I shot a famous lion…There are many collared lions shot every year, and as far as I’m aware there’s five that were shot this year alone…Well, it’s destroyed us, it’s destroyed the family, my business. You know, we employ a lot of people, and they are on half-time now. I guess each family is supporting six or more dependents.
The hearing is postponed until the following week.