Cecil was one of Hwangwe National Park’s favorite animal residents, but the 13-year old lion was recently slaughtered by hunters, and now his killer may face poaching charges. A dentist from Minnesota, Walter Palmer of River Bluff Dental, claims he paid $50,000 to kill the lion in Zimbabwe. Cecil was reportedly lured from within the Park’s boundaries with bait, and then shot with a crossbow. Only 40 hours later, on July 1, did the hunters find the wounded lion to finish him off with a rifle. They then skinned and decapitated him, according to the BBC, leaving his carcass undiscovered for several days.
Two men who are said to have helped Walter Palmer kill Cecil are due in court tomorrow. They may face poaching charges since they were not in possession of the appropriate hunting permits. One of the men, Theo Bronkhorst founded Bushman Safaris Zimbabwe, the company said to have organized the hunt, according to The Guardian. Zimbabwean police also confirmed Mr. Palmer may face poaching charges as well.
A spokesperson for the dentist told The Guardian Mr. Palmer thinks he may have killed the lion, but claims he paid for the requisite permits. His office was shut on Tuesday, and his website and Facebook page pulled down after hundreds of people left angry comments.
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“Nothing says you’re a better healthcare profession better than slaughtering defenseless endangered animals. It is good to know money that people have paid support this creep. I wonder what other barbaric acts he gets into when he puts his patients under,” Ryan R from Austin, Texas wrote in a Yelp review for River Bluff Dental. “I do have to say my root canal was almost painless as an arrow going through my heart. Thank you Dr. Palmer for being an awful human and an even better dentist.”
The head of The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) told the BBC Cecil never bothered anybody.
“He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at,” Johnny Rodrigues told the paper. “The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed by the new male lion in the pride,” Mr Rodrigues added, “in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.”
Images via The Telegraph, BBC, and Zimbabwe National Parks & Game Reserves.
Via The BBC, The Guardian