Pa. doctor defends lion hunt, says he followed rules

The entrance to the office of Dr. Jan Casimir Seski, is seen Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015, in Pittsburgh. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused Seski, whom they said is an American, of being involved in an illegal bow and arrow lion hunt in April. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — An American doctor accused of killing a lion in an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe said Tuesday that he had complied with all rules and regulations, filled out all the necessary paperwork and obtained the correct permits.

The Zimbabwe government said Sunday that Dr. Jan Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, used a bow and arrow in April to kill a lion without approval, on land where such hunting was not allowed.

But in a statement issued by his attorney, Seski said he had engaged in a “lawfully permitted hunt” and that it happened in July, not April, as Zimbabwe officials had said.

“During this trip, Dr. Seski did lawfully hunt and take a lion,” said his Washington attorney, Gregory Linsin. “As required by the rules in Zimbabwe, he promptly notified the Zimbabwean authorities and provided them with all of the information and paperwork required by law. He ensured that he was at all times in compliance with all rules, regulations and laws, and had the necessary permits required by Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwe government said no charges have been sought against Seski, though an investigation is continuing.

Seski is a gynecological oncologist who directs the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. His comments Tuesday, through his lawyer, were his first on the allegations, which his attorney indicated had affected his medical practice.

“Dr. Seski urgently wishes to return to his medical practice and to continue serving his patients,” Linsin said. “As he has for the past 35 years, that is where Dr. Seski intends to focus his energy and attention.”

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 international standards published since the donations were made.

“If they are found to be in conflict with those standards, we will return them to the donor,” the museum said in a statement.

The owner of the land where the lion hunt took place told The Associated Press on Monday that the required paperwork had been filled out and that the American doctor had acted in good faith.

In an earlier case that created an international furor, another American, James Walter Palmer, was accused of killing a well-known lion named Cecil in an early July hunt that Zimbabwe officials said was illegal. Palmer has said he relied on his professional guides to ensure the lion hunt was lawful.

Zimbabwe is seeking Palmer’s extradition.

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