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Second American Accused In Illegal Killing Of Lion In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean wildlife officials have accused a second American of killing a lion during an illegal hunt, this one in April. It comes a week after the international furor set off by the killing of Africa's iconic lion Cecil by a Minnesota dentist in early July.

Jan Casimir Seski, a prominent Pittsburgh-area physician, allegedly shot and killed a lion near Hwange National Park, according to a statement from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The Associated Press reports:

"Seski, a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, is a big-game hunter according to safari outfitters and bow-hunting sites."

In a post announcing further tightening of its hunting regulations in areas outside its national parks, the Zimbabwe parks authority names Seski as a client of Headman Sibanda. The post states that Sibanda is a landowner and that he has been arrested on allegations of "breaching hunting regulations in that he hunted without a quota and permit at his Railway Farm 31 and is also owner of Nyala Safaris, which conducted the hunt."

According to multiple news outlets, Seski, 68, is an avid hunter, and photographs of him on social media purportedly show him pictured next to big game kills, including a hippo, an ostrich and a zebra.

Seski's office has not responded to calls for comment. We'll update this post if it does.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean authorities are expected to seek the extradition of Walter Palmer, the Minnesota man thought to be responsible for killing Cecil the lion in early July. The AP reports that Zimbabwean officials believe Palmer "lacked the authorization to kill Cecil." The lion was reportedly lured out of Hwange park, wounded with a bow and arrow, then tracked down before being shot.

The circumstances surrounding the death of the famed big cat are also under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.