Pennsylvania Doctor Is Second American Accused in Zimbabwe Lion Hunt
Zimbabwe accuses Dr. Jan Casimir Seski, a gynecological oncologist of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, of illegally killing a lion in April
A second American has been accused by Zimbabwean officials of illegally killing a lion during a hunt.
Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says Jan Casimir Seski, of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, shot a lion with a bow and arrow in April in a restricted area near Hwange National Park, according to the Associated Press.
The hunt is different from the one that killed Cecil the lion, a popular local big cat whose death last month has garnered international condemnation. Dr Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, has been accused by Zimbabwean officials in that hunt.
Landowner Headman Sibanda has been arrested in connection with Seski’s hunt and is assisting police, authorities said.
Like Palmer, Seski – a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh – is an avid big-game hunter, according to safari outfitters and bow-hunting websites.
Jennifer Davis, Media Relations Specialist with the Allegheny Health Network, released a statement to media on Monday afternoon, an update to an earlier email, which called Seski a leader in the field of bloodless medicine.
She also reiterated that Seski is an independent physician, not employed by Allegheny Health Network, who has provided care to gynecologic cancer patients at hospitals throughout the Pittsburgh region for decades and expects he will continue to see patients. “We expect that Dr. Seski will continue to care for his patients as he attends to personal matters related to his recent hunting expedition in Africa.”
An email sent to Seski s private practice was not immediately returned on Monday; his office line rang a constant busy signal.
Vitriolic messages flooded Dr. Seski’s business page on Facebook – including one from a woman who said she hopes his family gets hit by a bus.
Two additional illegal lion hunts were also recorded in 2014, Zimbabwean wildlife authorities said, but no details were provided.
When hunters come to Zimbabwe they fill out personal details for a government database, which includes the amount they’ve paid for the hunt, what kinds of animals they plan to hunt, how many animals they plan to kill, the area, and time period for the hunt, a spokesperson explained to the AP.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean officials are working to get Palmer extradited back to the African nation “so that he be made accountable,” for the death of the country’s beloved Cecil, according to Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister. Palmer has not been charged with a crime.
In previous statements, Palmer has expressed regret and said that he thought the hunt was legal. He’s also said he was unaware that Cecil “was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer wrote. “That was never my intention.”
Palmer has since been in touch with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, PEOPLE confirmed on July 30. The office is working closely with Zimbabwean officials.
Over the weekend rumors swirled of another illegal hunt involving Jericho the lion, after Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told CNN that a hunter illegally gunned down the lion – originally reported to be Cecil’s brother.
But Jericho is alive, and is not Cecil’s brother, the Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit has confirmed. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force admitted on Sunday that officials mistakenly reported the death after they lost the signal from Jericho’s collar.