Earlier this month Cecil the lion, a resident of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, was hunted down and tragically killed by two local Zimbabwean men, and what was revealed last night as American dentist Walter James Palmer.
The two Zimbabwean men (Theo Bronchorst, a professional hunter, and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, a land owner) are expected to appear in court today over poaching charges. However, most of the attention is being focused on Minnesota dentist Palmer, who Zimbabwean authorities are currently seeking for their investigation.
Palmer was revealed last night as the hunter who paid roughly $50,000 to shoot and kill the 13-year-old black mane male lion, after luring him out of his resident Hwange National Park.
According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Cecil suffered a slow and painful death. The Conservation Task Force stated that the hunters lured the lion out of the National Park, and then Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow. Cecil survived the shot for another 40 hours, until the hunters tracked him down and shot him with a gun. The hunters then skinned and beheaded the lion.
It was also revealed that the hunters tried to destroy the GPS collar Cecil was wearing, a collar that had been put on the lion as part of research by Oxford University.
Palmer then went on to release a statement on Tuesday saying, “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, 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.”
Palmer most likely attempted to destroy the GPS collar in anticipation of the backlash he was about to receive, and currently is receiving. The yelp page for his dental practice has been filled with bad reviews, not on his dental work, but on the upset people feel over his lion hunting and killing.
Uproars on social media against Palmer have been flowing constantly since Tuesday, with celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne and Emmy Rossum taking to twitter and instagram to share their anger and sadness over this tragedy.
Jimmy Kimmel even dedicated his opening monologue last night to criticise Palmer, stating: “The big question is, why are you shooting a lion in the first place? I mean I am honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that- how is that fun?” Kimmel asked. “Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things? If that’s the case, they have a pill for that, it works great.”
Kimmel ended the segment on the verge of tears and asked the public to donate to the Wildlife Research Conservation Unit at Oxford University so that “some good come out of this disgusting tragedy.”
The publicity of the killing of Cecil, along with the actual tragic act, has renewed calls for a ban on trophy hunting in Africa. By this morning more than 210,000 people signed an online petition demanding “justice” for Cecil.
Many find this petition crucial, as the hunting and killing of one lion can in turn lead to the death of that lion’s pride.
This is relevant in Cecil’s pack, as officials have stated that the next lion in the hierarchy will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs, so he can insert his own bloodline into the females.
For further information on what you can do to help, please visit www.wildcru.org