Cecil the Lion’s death has touched a nerve everywhere.
Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist has been identified as the hunter who stalked, shot at Cecil with a bow and arrow. Palmer and his guides then left the lion to suffer overnight before returning to finish him off.
When they finished killing the lion, they beheaded him.
Cecil, who was Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, and known to be friendly to humans was well-known for his black mane. He was killed about 1 kilometre outside Hwange, the country’s world-famous national park.
Dr. Palmer is now likely the most hated man in America. Celebrities have been tweeting their disgust.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 28, 2015
I’m sorry because hatred is essentially wrong but Walter James Palmer you are beyond my contempt for killing Cecil pic.twitter.com/go7LUxzYbM
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) July 29, 2015
Palmer was in Zimbabwe earlier this summer when he apparently paid more than $50,000 for a license to hunt lion with professional guides. According to reports, the hunting party baited Cecil with his majestic mane from his protected confines at night. He shot the 13-year-old famed lion with a bow and arrow on July 1.
The dental practice abruptly closed for the week, with shades drawn tight amid the firestorm. And no one appeared to be home at his house in Eden Prairie. Though, he did release a written statement on Tuesday through a hired public relations representative.
“In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.
Jimmy Kimmel became emotional Monday night on his show as he talked about the hunt.
“It should be handled in a lawful way,” Kimmel said. “And the men who took him out in the Jeep should be held accountable too. But in the meantime, I think there’s some good that should come out of this.
Kimmel proceeded to give the website for the researchers who placed a collar on the lion to track him and encouraged viewers to make donations.