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Zimbabwean Authorities Restrict Hunting After Lion Killing

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe has suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area where a lion popular with tourists was killed, and is investigating the killing of another lion in April that may have been illegal, the country's wildlife authority said Saturday.

In addition, bow and arrow hunts have been suspended unless they are approved by the head of the director of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the organization said. The authority said it only received information this week about the possibly illegal killing of a lion in April. An arrest has been made in that case, officials said.

The announcement follows an international outcry stemming from an American hunter's killing of a lion named Cecil that was allegedly lured out of a national park. Zimbabwean authorities say the hunt was illegal and are seeking the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer.

Palmer is believed to have shot the lion with a bow on July 1 outside Hwange National Park after it was lured onto private land with a carcass of an animal, Zimbabwean conservationists have said. The wounded cat was later tracked down and Palmer allegedly killed it with a gun, they said. Two Zimbabweans — a professional hunter and a farm owner — have been arrested for the killing.

Related: Wildlife Expert Jeff Corwin on Cecil the Lion: 'We Need to Learn From This Tragedy'

Palmer has said he relied on his guides to ensure the hunt was legal.

"Hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect," Zimbabwe's wildlife authority said in a statement. Any such hunts can only be conducted if confirmed and authorized by the head of the wildlife authority and if the hunters are accompanied by park staff, it said.

The wildlife authority said it was necessary to tighten hunting regulations outside the park "following the killing of the iconic lion Cecil."