[Read about what happened to Cecil and why it’s not unusual.].
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, or ZPWMA, is also investigating the possible illegal hunting of another lion a day after Cecil was killed, government officials and conservationists said.
The officials said landowner Headman Sibanda, who runs Nyala Safaris, has been arrested and is cooperating with police. It also suspended bow and arrow hunts.
Images on websites linked to hunting show a “Dr Jan Seski” standing next to dead animals including elephants, an impala, a hippo and an ostrich, the agency added.
His comments Tuesday, through his lawyer, were his first on the allegations, which his attorney indicated had affected his medical practice.
Zimbabwe is seeking the extradition of American dentist Walter Palmer on accusations that he and others illegally hunted the lion, authorities said.
They say he killed a lion with a bow and arrow near Hwange National Park, according to The Associated Press.
Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said Cecil’s head was found in the home of Theo Bronkhorst, one of the co-accused.
She said Cecil was “an iconic attraction… which we had successfully managed to look after both in terms of conservation and protection from a cub to a fully-grown lion of 13 years”.
The United States has yet to respond to Zimbabwe’s request for Palmer to be extradited to face charges over the financing of the hunt. And the investigation has already turned up another name: Jan Casmir Sieski, a Pennsylvania gynecologist who allegedly illegally killed another lion back in April, according to Zimbabwe authorities.
A 2012 post on Facebook from Melorani Safaris, which bills itself as “South Africa’s premier bowhunting destination”, claims Seski went on a 10-day hunt and “harvested some very nice animals”, including a giraffe.
Also Tuesday, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh said it was reviewing Seski’s donation of two Nile crocodiles and an American alligator to see if he followed global standards published since the donations were made.
Mr Rodrigues said he has been subjected to a torrent of abuse after speaking out against hunting following Cecil’s death.