An American doctor has come under fire after being identified as the killer of Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions and the star attraction at the Hwange national park, the Guardian reports.
The man, who has an affinity for killing rare wildlife using a bow and arrow, has been identified as Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist working in Bloomington, Minnesota.
The video below shows the beloved lion calmly walking in the park one day before being hunted by Palmer.
Palmer paid $55,000 to hunt the 13-year-old lion, named Cecil, according to the report. The animal was allegedly lured with meat out of Hwange National Park — a protected area that bans hunting — into an adjacent hunting zone. The lion was shot with a bow and arrow, then stalked for 40 hours before he was finally killed with a rifle.
The hunt took place around 6 July. “They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil. Then they tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park,’ Zimbabwe authorities said.
“After the killing, the man left the lion skinned and headless on the outskirts of the park,” they said.
The Zimbabwe department of tourism sent out a tweet early Tuesday identifying Palmer as the man who killed Cecil, using the hashtag #illegalhunt.
Dr. Palmer posted the image below on his Facebook page, triggering an avalanche of condemning comments, forcing him to delete not only his Facebook page, but also to close his dental practice in fear of retaliation.
Later in the day, Dr. Palmer released a statement saying: “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice resulted in the taking of this lion.”
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