Cecil the lion
Cecil the lion was killed at Hwange National ParkYouTube

Zimbabwe has said it will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing Cecil, one of Africa's most beloved lions. Authorities concede that Palmer's hunting trip was legal and he went through proper channels.

The US dentist, had admitted, he hunted the prized lion in July 2015, but claimed he did it legally. The incident had sparked international outcry among environmentalists and rights activists.

"We approached the police and then the prosecutor general, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order," Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters.

"The documents were there. The problem now remains internal.... We are now going to review how we issue hunting quotas," the cabinet minister added. When asked whether Palmer would again be allowed to visit the African nation, she said: "If you talk to him, tell him that tourists are welcome here. No hunting, though," meaning Palmer would not be given official permits for hunting.

Palmer, a big-game hunter from Minnesota, was on hunting expedition in July when he killed the big cat, a 13-year-old rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside the Hwange National Park. Officials said he paid $50,000 (£32,600) for the guided hunt during an African safari.

Soon after the news over Cecil's killing spread across the world, Palmer apologised for the hunt. In his interviews with the Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he said: "If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn't have taken it. Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion."