The association has expelled a member whose name was on a hunting permit for Cecil but didn’t carry out the hunt, Chairman Louis Muller told reporters in Johannesburg, in neighboring South Africa, on Wednesday. The consequence of failing to act could be closing of the industry, Muller said.
“What Cecil has done has highlighted some of the issues that we already knew were a problem,” Muller said. “It has made it very clear to the government and the industry itself that we’ve got to self regulate and be proactive to address these issues.”
Cecil, a 13-year-old male lion, was killed in July outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, where he was a star attraction among tourists, prompting outrage from around the world.
Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter, is facing charges for helping a U.S. dentist, Walter Palmer, kill the animal. Bronkhorst, who was not a member of the hunting association, made a number of mistakes, while Palmer didn’t have the correct permit, said Muller. A parks ranger wasn’t present for the hunt and the lion’s tracking collar was never found, he said.
Hunting fees help support 2.4 million children in Zimbabwe and the revenue is critical to the local economy and wildlife conservation, Muller said.