HARARE, Zimbabwe -- A Zimbabwe Cabinet minister says the country is no longer pressing for the extradition of James Walter Palmer, an American dentist who killed a well-known lion called Cecil.
Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri had said in July that Zimbabwean police and prosecutors would work to ensure Palmer returned to Zimbabwe to face poaching charges.
But on Monday she told reporters in Harare that Palmer can now safely return to Zimbabwe as a "tourist" because he had not broken the southern African country's hunting laws. She said the police and the National Prosecuting Authority had cleared Palmer of wrongdoing.
Palmer was identified as the man who killed Cecil in a bow hunt. Cecil, a resident of Hwange National park in western Zimbabwe, was well-known to tourists and researchers.
In addition to protesters, Palmer had been targeted on social media, which he says has been tough on his wife and daughter who both felt threatened. "I don't understand that level of humanity," he said last month. "To come after people not involved at all."
2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material Click here to know more. may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.