World | Africa

August 03, 2015

Zimbabwe Officials Say Another American Illegally Killed a Lion in an Authorized Hunt

A prominent American gynecologist illegally killed a lion in an authorized hunt this year in Zimbabwe, wildlife authorities there said Sunday.
Cecil.

Cecil.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said in a news release that Jan Casmir Sieski of Murrysville, Pa., took part in a hunt in April on a farm just outside Hwange National Park, where a popular lion was lured away and killed by an American dentist last month.

No one by that name was found in public records. But the address given by the Zimbabwe government belongs to Jan Casimir Seski, a gynecological oncologist with a practice in Pittsburgh.

Zimbabwean officials told The Associated Press that Dr. Seski killed a lion, shooting it with a bow and arrow, on a farm owned by a safari tour operator named Headman Sibanda.

“The American conducted his hunt in an area where lion hunting is outlawed,” Caroline Washaya Moyo, Zimbabwe National Parks spokeswoman, told the AP. “The landowner who helped him with the hunt also did not have a quota for lion hunting.”

Dr. Seski, 68, is considered a pioneer in the practice of bloodless surgery. He did not immediately return calls to his home and office seeking comment. He is the medical director of the Allegheny General Hospital’s Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery, and the director of the division of gynecological oncology there.

Officials said the owner of the farm, Mr. Sibanda, had been arrested on suspicion of breaching hunting regulations. He was accused of hunting without a quota and permit, and is cooperating with the police investigation, according to the release.

Mr. Sibanda is also the owner of Nyala Safaris, the officials said, and he conducted the hunt. His farm, Railway Farm 31, sits on the eastern border of Hwange National Park.

The wildlife agency said the government had ordered an investigation of the hunting industry to “crack down and weed out” illegal activities after the killing of Cecil, the lion who was killed on July 1 by an American dentist. The government also suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside Hwange National Park and ordered all hunters currently in the field to stop their activities and withdraw.

Citing the financial strain of the investigation, the wildlife agency is soliciting donations to cover its costs. The money will go into a wildlife conservation and monitoring fund, officials said.

Conservation officials said Cecil was lured from a protected area and killed by Dr. Walter J. Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who paid $50,000 for the hunt. The lion’s body was found skinned and beheaded less than a half-mile from the park. Dr. Palmer said he believed the hunt was legal, and he has since gone into hiding.

Zimbabwe officials are seeking Dr. Palmer’s extradition to face charges. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which was seeking Dr. Palmer for questioning, said Saturday on Twitter that it had been reached by a representative of the dentist.

Outrage over the killing propelled efforts to curb killings of endangered and threatened species. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that supporters said would start a global effort to tackle illegal poaching and trafficking of wildlife. Lawmakers in the United States Congress have also drafted legislation to stop people from importing poached animal parts, known as trophies.

Text by The New York Times
 

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