Outcries could be heard around the globe after a Minnesota dentist was identified as the man who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.
Dr. Walter Palmer was named by the Telegraph as the man who paid $55,000 to hunt the famous 13-year-old animal, luring him out of Hwange National Park with dead meat, piercing him with a bow and arrow, and then following him for 40 hours before shooting him dead with a rifle. Cecil was ultimately skinned and beheaded.
Outrage ensued. People tweeted death threats directed at Palmer and posted contact information for his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice, BuzzFeed wrote. The Yelp page for his practice was flooded with over 6,000 reviews, lambasting Palmer for his actions and resulting in a one-star rating.
He closed his dental practice and shut the blinds at the office, but that did not stop people from leaving stuffed animals and notes outside the building in memory of Cecil, Fox’s Minneapolis station KMSP reported.
Cecil was wearing a GPS collar as part of an ongoing research project with the University of Oxford, according to the Guardian. After he was killed, the collar was removed.
“Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but this shot didn’t kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said. “They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun. The hunters then found that the dead lion was wearing a tracking collar, which they unsuccessfully tried to hide.”
Palmer released a statement to the media, claiming he thought his hunt was legal:
I hired several professional guides, and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled. 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. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.
In 2006, Palmer pleaded guilty to killing a black bear in Wisconsin outside a permitted zone, NBC noted. He was given three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine.
Almost 400,000 people have a signed a petition on Care2 demanding justice for Cecil.