An American dentist who shot and killed what was probably the most famous lion on earth, has admitted that he took part in the hunt, which included beheading and skinning the magnificent animal at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park as a trophy.
“It’s an activity I love.”
Doctor Walter James Palmer, who operates the River Bluff Dental clinic in the town of Bloomington Minnesota, insists he had all the right permits for shooting a lion. He states he had no idea this particular lion was on a “protected status” list or that he was Cecil, considered a national treasure in Zimbabwe. But a subject he does not address is that Cecil, an imposing, extremely rare black-mane cat, was well-known by his guides and easily recognizable by pretty much every game hunter, even from a distance. And because he was wearing a GPS tracking collar, Zimbabwe wildlife authorities now know that Cecil was illegally lured outside the park’s borders by bloody meat dragged behind a truck after dark. He was then shot by Palmer with a crossbow. Luring any animal outside a sanctuary is illegal.
Seriously wounded, Cecil wandered the plains for nearly two days before Palmer and his guides found him and shot him with a high-powered rifle outside the park. The killing and brutal beheading have caused outrage in Zimbabwe and in fact worldwide.
Investigators believe the lion was killed on July 1st but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later. Police in Zimbabwe have since arrested two men over the death of Cecil, the country’s most beloved tourist attraction, and say the American Palmer may also face felony poaching charges.
Emmanuel Fundira, President of Safari’s Operators Association, confirmed that “Doctor Walter Palmer of the U.S. is wanted in connection of the death of Cecil.”
Palmer states he did not learn the lion’s identity until the end of the hunt; that he depended on professional guides to find a lion and obtain the necessary permits