American dentist who killed Cecil the lion illegally shot black bear at home
Two Zimbabwean men who were arrested for illegally hunting a protected lion have appeared in court to face poaching charges.
Police are still looking for the American dentist Walter James Palme who allegedly paid $50,000 (£31,900) to track and shoot the animal with the two men - a professional hunter and a farm owner.
Mr Palmer, from Minnesota, said in a statement that he was unaware the lion was protected.
But the death of Cecil the lion could hit the African economy, a wildlife conservationist has warned.
Jeff Flocken said: "He was an animal that was sought out by tourists, who came there, spent money and brought revenue which is so needed in so many of these African countries - to see and take pictures of the animal. Now after this one tremendously unnecessary death that revenue can't come in any more."
He added that hunting tours were not rare: "Unfortunately it's very easy to buy a package to kill species in Africa. Typically it's not just a hunt for a lion or a rhino or an elephant, but it's a number of species in addition to the one that's the anchor." Mr Palmer, who has a criminal record related to shooting a black bear, said in a statement: "I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.
"I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt."
US court reports show Mr Palmer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the US Fish and Wildlife service about a black bear he killed in Wisconsin.
He had a permit to hunt, but shot the bear outside the authorised zone and tried to pretend it was killed elsewhere.
The lion was being studied by researchers at Oxford University.