A PROFESSIONAL hunter behind the killing of the famous Cecil lion, Theodor Albert Christiam Bronkaost, 52, was yesterday arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle 30 sables into South Africa through an undesignated exit point along the Limpopo River.The arrest of Bronkaost (pictured above) of Bulawayo has been linked to that of three South Africans who were intercepted on Friday last week attempting to smuggle the sables that are worth $435,000 into the neighbouring country.
National Police Spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said yesterday:
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to confirm the arrest of Theodor Albert Christiam Bronkaost in Bulawayo. He is detained at Hillside Police Station. He is facing charges under the Parks and Wild Life Act for ‘moving wild animals without a permit’ and as an accomplice for smuggling wild animals.”
She added that the police would ensure that all those who violate the Parks and Wildlife Act are brought to book.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson, Caroline Washaya-Moyo yesterday said Bronkaost was facing allegations of capturing and translocating 30 sables for the purpose of illegally exporting them to South Africa.
The professional hunter’s arrest comes at a time when he is on bail on charges of carrying an illegal hunt which resulted in the killing of Cecil the lion by an American dentist Walter Palmer — first with a bow and arrow and then with a gun.
Palmer was a target of global outrage over the 13-year-old lion’s killing.
On Friday three South Africans were apprehended while trying to smuggle the sables linked to Bronkaost in Beitbridge.
The trio, Edwin Hewitt, 49, Henrik Johannes Blignaut, 41, and Herbert John Pretorius were travelling in a convoy of three Toyota Land Cruisers and ran out of luck when their vehicles got stuck in the Limpopo riverbed. They were attempting to leave the country through an illegal crossing point near Nottingham Estate in Beitbridge.
Two of the animals had already died by the time the trucks were intercepted. According to a conservation group, the Bhejane Trust, which operates in Hwange and Victoria Falls, it is believed that the sables were originally imported from Zambia.
The conservation trust said the animals had been kept in a farm where Bronkaost was staying in Victoria Falls.
The three South Africans have since appeared in court charged with smuggling and moving animals without a permit as well as attempting to depart
Zimbabwe through an illegal exit point. They were remanded in custody to tomorrow by a Beitbridge magistrate pending trial.
Bronkaost is already due back in court on September 28 in connection with the Cecil case.