One of the hunters arrested over the killing of the Cecil the lion has reportedly claimed he did not think he had done "anything wrong".
Theo Bronkhorst, a professional Zimbabwean hunter, told AFP on Friday he had done nothing wrong on the hunt for the famed lion and said that he was surprised to find the animal wearing a tracking collar when they found the body.
Mr Bronkhorst was employed by US dentist Walter Palmer, 55, in the hunt for the lion and has been arrested by Zimbabwean authorites for his role in the now infamous hunt. Another man, a farm owner, also faces charges from the government over his involvement in the hunt.
In a telephone interview with the international news agency, Mr Bronkhorst said: "I don't believe I failed in any duties at all, I was engaged by a client to do a hunt for him and we shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age.
"I don't think that I've done anything wrong," he added, clarifying remarks that were initially attributed to Mr Palmer.
Walter Palmer shot and killed 13-year-old African Cecil the lion on 1 July. The death of the famed lion, who was wearing a tracking collar as part of an Oxford University research project at the time of his death, was met with international condemnation.
The dentist has been forced to go into hiding as public anger continues, seemingly unabetted.
The Zimbabwean government confirmed on Friday that they intend to seek Mr Palmer's extradition, and acussed him of attempting to damage Zimbabwe's image.
Oppah Muchinguri, the environment, water and climate minister, told a press conference that it was "too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin".
"We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable," they added.
Their response comes as an official White House petition for his extradition to Zimbabwe reached 160,000 signatures, forcing the US government to promise a response.
On Tuesday Mr Palmer issued a statement in which he claimed he believed that the hunt was legal.
Cecil was reportedly lured off the nature reserve - where he was protected - with bait before Mr Palmer, accompanied by Mr Bronkhorsts and a local farm owner, shot the lion with a crossbow. Some 40 hours afterwards the animal was killed with a gun.
The most controversial animal killings
The most controversial animal killings
1/6 Cincinnati Zoo worker shots and kills Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla
Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The incident was recorded on video and received broad international coverage and commentary, including controversy over the choice to kill Harambe. A number of primatologists and conservationists wrote later that the zoo had no other choice under the circumstances, and that it highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2/6 Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion (pictured here with another lion shot in Africa)
Walter James Palmer has been named by Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force as the shooter of Cecil, a 13-year-old prized lion. He is now wanted by Zimbabwe officials on poaching charges. The lion was protected and the subject of a decade long study by the Wildlife Unit of Oxford University in the UK. He was outfitted with a GPS collar and was killed in Hwange National Park. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association said that two men were charged with poaching in connection to Mr Palmer
3/6 Kendall Jones hunting images
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texas Tech university student, has provoked worldwide fury after posting pictures of herself smiling next to animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus
4/6 Rebecca Francis hunting images
Rebecca Francis, a huntress who has killed dozens of wild animals has been sent death wishes by furious social media users after a picture showing her lying down next to a dead giraffe was circulated. Rebecca Francis has a website and Facebook page dedicated to the animals she has killed in hunts across Africa and America. Francis, a prolific hunter who has also co-hosted the television show Eye of the Hunter, regularly posts pictures of herself posing next to dead bears, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras, among other animals. She uses a bow and arrow to kill her prey
5/6 The slaughter of Marius, an 18-month-old healthy giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo
Copenhagen Zoo made the controversial decision to euthanise a healthy giraffe named Marius, which was later dissected and fed to lions as visitors watched. The slaughter sparked a furious backlash from social media users and zoo staff have received death threats by phone and email. Soon after the incident, Copenhagen Zoo faced an international outcry once again after four healthy lions were put down
6/6 Swiss Dählhölzli zoo kills healthy brown bear cub
A Switzerland zoo faced heavy criticism from animal rights groups, after keepers put down a healthy brown bear cub to spare it from being bullied by its dominant male father. The 360 kg male bear Misha had already killed one of his 11-week old cubs in public and was bullying the second, staff at the zoo said, because he was jealous of the attention the cubs were receiving from their mother, Masha. Both adult brown bears had been donated to Bern’s Dählhölzli zoo in 2009. Campaigners condemned staff there for not separating the cubs, who are being referred to as Baby Bear Two and Baby Bear Three, and their mother from Misha after their birth in January
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