The death of Cecil the lion prompted more than 200 people to protest outside the dental office of his 55-year-old Minnesotan killer, but Zimbabweans themselves seemed unfazed.
"What lion?" asked acting Information Minister Prisca Mupfumira in response to questions from international media, according to Reuters.
"Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country," said Tryphina Kaseke, a used-clothes hawker on the streets of Harare, Reuters reported. "What is so special about this one?"
The average Zimbabwean has more pressing concerns than an American dentist hunting prize game: the once-thriving southern African nation faces 80 percent unemployment and an economy that was unable to recover from a decade-old crash.
Although the story topped international news and trended on social media, in Zimbabwe it was relegated to the inside pages of newspapers, the Reuters report said. One paper actually had to rely on foreign copy for its story because it didn't send a reporter to the court appearance, even though two locals were involved.
In contrast with Westerners who view lions as either precious species to protect or big game to hunt, Zimbabweans, like other rural Africans, think of lions and other wild animals as dangerous predators that occasionally kill locals.
"Why are the Americans more concerned than us?" said Joseph Mabuwa, a 33-year-old father of two cleaning his car in the center of the capital, Reuters reported. "We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange [the national park where Cecil was killed.]"
Since the media firestorm erupted over the hunting, Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion, fled and cannot be located. Palmer admitted he killed the lion with a bow and arrow on July 1 near Hwange and thought the hunting was legal.
On Friday, Zimbabwe called for Palmer's extradition to face charges, Reuters reported. Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri called Palmer a "foreign poacher."