International criticism has been fast and fierce since it was revealed that an American dentist paid $55,000 to hunt and kill an iconic and rare black-maned lion named Cecil.
For over a decade he has been the star attraction of Hwange National Park located in Zimbabwe, South Africa. Earlier this week, the lion was found beheaded and skinned.
Trophy hunter pleads ignorance
Minnesota dentist named Walter Palmer is now suffering backlash from around the world. He has had to close his dental office due to protesters, his website hacked and his company Facebook page flooded with angry comments.
He is accused of participating in an illegal game hunt, and his guides, two local hunters, now face charges of poaching and participating in an illegal game hunt.
In a written statement, Palmer admitted his involvement, but denied any knowledge of Cecil’s identity.
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
However, the lion had been studied by an Oxford University scientific team for seven years, and members say the hunters would have known what they were doing.
Previous hunting convictions
This is not Palmer’s first big kill, nor is it his first offense. In 2008 he was convicted of a felony for lying about where he killed a bear in Wisconsin.
“The big question is, why are you shooting a lion in the first place?”
On last night’s “Jimmy Kimmel” Live, the talk show host weighed in on the shooting of endangered species, and his opinion of Palmer.
Cecil stalked for 40 hours
In an interview with CBS News ciorresdondent Debora Patta, the Chairman of Zimbabwe’s Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues, said he was appalled.
“It’s the manner that, the way it was done,” Rodrigues said. “To lure the lion out of the park, scent and bait the area, and then come in with a spotlight and shoot him with a bow and arrow. I mean, it’s crazy really. It’s inhumane.”
It’s believed that Cecil was shot with a bow and arrow, stalked for 40 hours, and then killed with a rifle shot.