Outrage over Minnesota dentist who killed a famous lion in Zimbabwe has continued to mount.
Walter Palmer, 55 is accused of paying $55,000 to hunt down and kill lion “Cecil” in Zimbabwe.
Over 100 protesters were stationed outside Walter Palmer’s home chanting ‘extradite’.
Protesters including some of Gus patients and animal rights activists want Dr. Palmer expedited to Zimbabwe to face trial.
Two signs posted on the door of a nondescript dental office here asked passers-by to mourn the death of Cecil, a lion who was lured off his sanctuary and killed during a game hunt this month in Zimbabwe. “WE ARE CECIL,” one read; “#CatLivesMatter,” read another.
Nearby was a sign with a darker message for the dentist who said he killed the cat: “ROT IN HELL.” In the hours since Dr. Walter J. Palmer apologized for killing the lion, he has gone from a dentist and longtime hunting enthusiast to a villain at the center of a firestorm over the ethics of big-game trophy hunting.
“Cecil the Lion” was killed in early July, authorities said.
A spokesman for the dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, told says that Palmer, 55, may have shot the lion.
“What he’ll tell you is that he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides, so he’s not denying that he may be the person who shot this lion. He is a big-game hunter; he hunts the world over,” Palmer’s spokesman told The Guardian in a statement.
Cecil the Lion was found beheaded and skinned on the outskirts of the Hwange national park, authorities said. The hunt occurred around July 6.
“They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil,” Johnny Rodrigues, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told The Guardian. “They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about
half a kilometre from the park.”
Rodrigues said Palmer first shot Cecil with a crossbow, but it did not kill him. They then “tracked him down and found him 40 hours later” and shot him with a rifle, Rodrigues said.
The lion’s head has not been found. Cecil was originally believed to have been killed by a Spanish poacher.
The charity Lion Aid says on its website that it will be difficult to prosecute the person who paid for the hunt, because the client did what the professional hunter tells him to do.
“A client usually has no idea about the laws and regulations of the country he is hunting in – he just buys a safari and then places himself in the hands of his professional hunter guide. Finding the client could be interesting to let him tell his side of the story, but in terms of legal prosecution this person is hardly important,” Lion Aid says.
Palmer, of Eden Prairie, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he plans to dispute some of what is being said later Tuesday.
“Obviously, some things are being misreported,” he said.
Palmer later issued a statement about the hunt, according to KSTP-TV:
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.”
The 13-year-old Cecil the lion has been collared as part of an Oxford University research project the university has run since 1999 in Zimbabwe, The Guardian reports. It was a beloved figure in the Hwange park and was often photographed by tourists.
“He never bothered anybody,” Johnny Rodrigues, of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told The Telegraph. “He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.”
The conservation task force told The Guardian that Cecil had several cubs.
“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females,” the task force said.
“That’s how it works… it’s in the wild; it’s nature taking its course,” Rodrigues told the BBC.