HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — An American accused of killing a lion in an allegedly illegal hunt in Zimbabwe in April did not break any laws and acted in good faith, a safari operator who worked for the American said Monday.
Landowner Headman Sibanda said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the proper paperwork was in place for the lion hunt by his client, Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania.
The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, however, said Sunday that Seski was involved in an illegal hunt. Zimbabwean officials say they are seeking the extradition of another American, James Walter Palmer, for killing a well-known lion named Cecil in an early July hunt that was allegedly illegal.
Palmer has said he relied on his professional guides to ensure the lion hunt was legal.
Seski did not respond to messages left Sunday by The Associated Press at his home and with an answering service for his medical practice. The AP also knocked on the door at Seski's house.
"He conducted his hunt in good faith and now he is being treated as if he is some criminal," Sibanda said from his safari area near Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. "He is an honest man who came into this country to give us business. He doesn't deserve all this attention and harassment. He should be allowed to have a good night's sleep because his conscience should be clear. Everything was done aboveboard."
To support his argument that the hunt was legal, Sibanda noted that he had not been arrested. The government wildlife management body, however, said Sibanda had no permit to hunt lions on his land and that an investigation was underway.