Walter Palmer, a dentist from the US, is accused of illegally killing the infamous Cecil the Lion after luring him out of a Zimbabwean game reserve.
On July 28, American dentist Dr. Walter Palmer killed a famous lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, which is a “free roam” wildlife zone.
According to the Associated Press, the dentist has been pinpointed by Zimbabwean police as the shooter who killed Cecil the Lion. While authorities say that they are pressing charges against the dentist, Palmer said that he didn’t know that what he was doing was in any way illegal. He states on his blog:
“In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. 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. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.
“I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.
“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”
The legality of big game hunting in Zimbabwe are constantly debated on in the news and on social media. People are often posting “trophy” photos, which include them posing with the dead animal they just murdered. Unfortunately, even though “trophy” pictures make people very angry online, these images usually come from legal hunts.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Although Palmer continues to reassure everyone he has all of the legal permits needed for the hunt, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says that Cecil the Lion was purposely lured out of the game reserve area he was in, which was protected by Palmer’s hunting party. The task force made a statement:
On or about the 6th July 2015, Walter James Palmer was taken to Hwange National Park by professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst. They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil. They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometre from the park. Mr Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but this shot didn’t kill him. They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later, when they shot him with a gun. They found that he was fitted with a GPS collar because he was being studied by the Hwange Lion Research, funded by Oxford University, so they tried to destroy the collar but failed because it was found.
Cecil was skinned and beheaded. We don’t know the whereabouts of the head. Walter Palmer apparently paid $50,000 for the kill, and we assume Theo Bronkhorst received this money. Cecil, who was known all over the world, would have earned millions of dollars just from sightseeing. There was apparently no quota or licence for a lion to be killed in this area.
The most devastating piece of information to come from this massacre is that Cecil is dead and the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely have to kill all of Cecil’s babies, so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females and continue the family. This sad and heartbreaking act is all standard procedure in the lion kingdom.
Walter Palmer has openly admitted to killing Cecil the Lion, however he has denied the fact that he lured the lion out of its protected area. He might be telling the truth, but the NY Times has reported that in 2008 the dentist pleaded not guilty to lying to police during a situation in which he murdered a black bear in Wisconsin.
The Zimbabwe Wildlife Management Authority has also filed additional charges against two other hunters who were present when Palmer killed Cecil. They said:
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management as the Regulatory Authority and custodian of all wild animals in Zimbabwe issues hunting permits and hunting quota for all hunting areas in Zimbabwe so that only animals on quota are to be hunted. In this case, both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt.
Both professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst’s licence number 553 who was involved in the hunt and the owner of Antoinette farm, Mr. Honest Trymore Ndlovu are being jointly charged for illegally hunting the lion. The two are due to appear in court on Wednesday, 29 July 2015. Efforts are being made to interview the other professional hunter, Zane Bronkhorst, licence number 558, who was also involved in the illegal hunt.
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