HWANGE, Zimbabwe (AFP): A professional hunter was granted bail Wednesday on charges of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt” after he organised the expedition on which an American dentist killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the lion. The lion’s death triggered an outpouring of anger around the world after it was alleged that he was lured out of Hwange National Park and shot with a powerful bow and arrow. Theo Bronkhorst, wearing a green sleeveless jacket, was ordered to lodge a $1,000 deposit at the court in Hwange in northwestern Zimbabwe after a day of negotiations between police, prosecutors and lawyers.

Co-accused Honest Ndlovu, a land owner, was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday on separate charges. “After hearing submissions from both counsel, bail is hereby granted,” magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa said, setting Bronkhorst’s trial date for August 5. Dentist Walter Palmer, an experienced trophy hunter from Minnesota whose whereabouts are unknown, is thought to have left Zimbabwe some weeks ago. He has been targeted with vicious abuse after he admitted killing Cecil and said he had been misled by his guides. Images of the dentist grinning over a small zoo’s worth of dead prey from previous hunts - a limp leopard held up to the camera, a rhino, an elk, a big horned sheep, a cape buffalo - circulated widely on the Internet and fed a firestorm of criticism.