Photo Credit: YouTube/Bryan Orford
Cecil the lion was one of the most popular stars at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park – that was, until he was killed by Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota ho paid $55,000 for the “pleasure” to off him.
The beautiful creature’s death has sparked outrage from across the globe, with the backlash so strong, Palmer’s website was shut down and his dental office has shut its doors.
Palmer, who is a trophied archer and frequent big game hunter denied any wrongdoing, explaining in a statement, “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.”
The dentist had paid a guide to lure Cecil out of the park at night so he could be hunted. He shot and wounded Cecil with a bow, but was only able to kill him 40 hours later. Cecil was beheaded and skinned – -they also removed his tracking collar against park rules.
The Zimbabwean Tourism Authority says the hunt was illegal, and a criminal investigation is currently under way.
Unfortunately, the lion’s death doesn’t just affect him, and those who loved him. Not that he’s gone, the ZTA says that the other male lions will probably kill off the 24 cubs that he had left with his pride to ensure that their own bloodlines live on instead.
Meanwhile, as Palmer’s dental office sits with the shutters drawn, locals have covered the front door with flowers, signs and stuffed animals as a memorial for Cecil.