Cecil was 2nd protected lion killed by a U.S. hunter this year, Zimbabwe says

Another American illegally killed a lion with a bow and arrow in Zimbabwe several months ago, authorities said Sunday amid an international outcry over the U.S. hunter accused of illegally killing a well-known lion named Cecil in early July.

Zimbabwe's wildlife authority said Saturday it had suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants

Another American illegally killed a lion with a bow and arrow in Zimbabwe several months ago, authorities said Sunday, amid an international outcry over the killing of a well-known lion named Cecil in early July. (Paula French/Associated Press)

Another American illegally killed a lion with a bow and arrow in Zimbabwe several months ago, authorities said Sunday, amid an international outcry over the U.S. hunter accused of illegally killing a well-known lion named Cecil in early July.

Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority named the American as Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pa. Its statement said Seski's illegal hunt took place in April around Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.

A Zimbabwean landowner, Headman Sibanda, was arrested in the Seski case and is assisting police, the wildlife authority said.

Seski is a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital.

He's also an active big-game hunter, according to safari outfitters and bow-hunting sites that have posted pictures of kills identifying "Dr. Jan Seski" as the man standing next to slain animals including elephants, an impala, a kudu, a Nyala, a hippo and an ostrich.

Those images match the doctor's appearance in pictures on his medical practice's website, where Seski's information in turn matches that of Jan Seski in Murrysville.

Messages left by The Associated Press at Seski's home, and with an answering service for his medical practice, were not immediately returned.

Seski a 'perfect gentleman'

One image on the Melorani Safaris Facebook page, since taken down, showed Seski posing with the body of a small antelope in 2012, with a caption saying it was killed two days after he shot it with an arrow. Other captions described how his arrows penetrated organs and split bones.

"This Zimbabwe elephant is the sixth African elephant shot by Dr. Jan Seski," Alaska Bowhunting Supply claims in a caption dated September 2014, below a picture of the doctor posing above the dead beast's trunk and tusks.

Alaska Bowhunting Supply didn't immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment, and it wasn't clear how the hunting supply company learned such details about the hunt.

Seski seemed like a "perfect gentleman" to Stewart Dorrington, who operates Melorani Safaris and owns a game reserve in neighbouring South Africa where Seski hunted in 2012. 

"He was a great guy," Dorrington said. "Everything he did was perfectly legal and aboveboard and a great help to our conservation efforts." 

A vehicle carries visitors arriving at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park on Sunday. Zimbabwean authorities allege that Palmer lured the lion Cecil out of the park before shooting the animal. (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

Dorrington said he converted his cattle ranch into a game reserve in the 1980s, and that funds from trophy hunting of antelope are essential to conserving wildlife. 

Dorrington said he received an abusive phone call Sunday; his Facebook page was later closed from view after people began posting threatening comments.

National Parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya Moyo said that Seski's name was gathered from a database.

"When hunters come into the country they fill a document stating their personal details, the amount they have paid for the hunt, the number of animals to be hunted, the species to be hunted and the area and period where that hunt is supposed to take place," she said.

"The American conducted his hunt in an area where lion hunting is outlawed. The landowner who helped him with the hunt also did not have a quota for lion hunting."

Confusion over status of Cecil's brother

A group called the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force posted on its Facebook page that Cecil's brother Jericho had been killed at 4 p.m. on Saturday, a report that was picked up by some Western news media and spread rapidly on Twitter.

The report of Jericho's death was soon after rebuked by a researcher monitoring the pride who told Reuters that the lion was moving around and appeared to be with a female.

"When I heard that report, I had a look on the computer and his movements look regular. He sent a GPS point from his collar from 8:06 p.m. Everything looks fine," researcher Brent Stapelkamp said.

Zimbabwean authorities earlier said they will seek the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer, alleging he did not have authorization to kill the lion named Cecil a month ago. The lion was lured out of Hwange park and first wounded with a bow and arrow before being tracked down and shot, according to conservationists in Zimbabwe. Palmer has said he relied on his professional guides to ensure his hunt was legal.

Two Zimbabwean citizens were arrested and face charges in the case in which Palmer has been implicated.

On Saturday, Zimbabwe's wildlife authority said it had suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the Hwange area. Bow and arrow hunts were also suspended and can only be approved by the head of the wildlife authority.

With files from Reuters

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.