The Zimbabwe Wildlife authorities have suspended the hunting of big cats and elephants around Hwange National Park.

This came after more than one million people signed a petition calling on the African country to act after Cecil was brutally killed by American dentist Walter Palmer.

Palmer allegedly lured the big cat outside of the park in Hwange – in which he was protected – and then wounded him with a bow and arrow, before tracking him for 40 hours, shooting him dead and skinning him.

Outraged animal lovers flooded an online petition set up to urge Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to stop authorities issuing permits to kill endangered animals.

The online petition got over one million signatures in just over a week. Edson Chidziya, head of Zimbabwe’s parks and wildlife authority Zimparks, made the announcement that Hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in areas outside of Hwange National Park had been suspended with immediate effect.

He added big game hunters would only be allowed if “authorised in writing by the Director-General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority”.

The news is likely to be met with support from Care2, a social network for activists, which began the online petition.

Care2 CEO Randy Paynter said at the launch of the poll: “It’s a tragedy that many of our planet’s most treasured species are also the most vulnerable to those who would take their lives for a trophy.
“Care2 members are stepping up to pressure Zimbabwean authorities to end this irresponsible and tragic practice once and for all.”

13-year-old lion Cecil was said to have been tempted outside of the park using bait on July 1 Palmer claimed he relied on his professional guides to ensure the hunt was legal, and that he had no idea of the lion’s famous identity.

It is understood he paid £35,000 ($50,000) to kill the beast, famous for its black mane.

Zimbabwe has started legal proceedings to extradite Palmer from his home in Minnesota to answer charges connected with the lion slaying.

Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, as well as a number of American carriers, have reacted by banning people to travel for game hunting.