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Zimbabwe official: Walter Palmer won't be charged in death of Cecil the lion

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Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who became the subject of international uproar after admitting to killing a famed African lion, won't be charged, Zimbabwean officials said Monday.

Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters the police and prosecutor general were approached, but that all Palmer's papers "were in order," according to Reuters.

Zimbabwean officials had called for Palmer's extradition to the African nation so he could be held accountable for his "illegal action" when he killed Cecil the lion outside of Hwange National Park back in July, but now officials have called off that request, the New Zimbabwe says.

“He is free to come, not for hunting, but as a tourist,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said, according to New Zimbabwe.

According to the Star Tribune, a Palmer spokesperson said the dentist wouldn't have a comment about the update.

Cecil, who was wearing a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University research project, was reportedly lured from the park with bait, shot with an arrow and then tracked for 40 hours before he was fatally shot with a rifle, beheaded, and then skinned.

Palmer, who is believed to have paid roughly $50,000 for the hunt, admitted to killing Cecil, but maintained everything about the hunt was legal and said he was unaware the lion was famous.

The lion's death sparked global outrage and forced Palmer to temporarily close his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice. Palmer has been the subject of protests and vandalism in the months since the lion's killing.

Two Zimbabwean men have been implicated in Cecil's killing, the New Zimbabwe notes.

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