An American dentist is identified to be the hunter of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, and he’s now receiving death threats on the Internet
Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, was killed in early July and the case has drawn global attention. The beloved big cat had a painful death; he took 40 hours to breathe his last.
There was outrage over the killing then; and now a wealthy American dentist has been identified as the hunter, who used a bow and arrow to shoot Cecil.
The lion, which was the most popular attraction at the Hwange National Park, was lured outside the park’s boundaries by bait and shot. It was later skinned and beheaded.
"The offender is a gentleman who is an American called Walter James Palmer," Emmanuel Fundira, president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, said at a news conference in Harare.
The American tourist is believed to have paid about $50,000 to go on the hunt. According to police official, two Zimbabweans had been arrested in the case and charged with poaching offences. They could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. Palmer may also face similar charges.
The dentist said that he regretted shooting the Cecil, but insisted that he believed he was on a legal hunt.
In a statement, Palmer told Colorado News that the authorities had not contacted him yet.
"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.”
The Internet is enraged
But the Internet is unforgiving. The Twitter and Facebook accounts and website of Palmer’s dental practice -- River Bluff Dental in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota -- were shut down Tuesday after being flooded with blistering attacks, reports AFP.
On Twitter, he received death threats and the contact information for Palmer’s dental practice was shared.
“Let us hope that Walter Palmer, who "bravely" killed a magnificent lion in Zimbabwe with a compound bow and arrows, meets a similar fate soon, tweeted Steve Proud.
Another Twitter user said, “Truly. I'd put a cross bow bolt through Walter Palmer then track him from 40 hrs, shoot him, behead him, skin him and sleep peacefully.”
The dental practice run Palmer was closed and a note was placed on the door referring visitors to a public relations firm, according to local press.
Cecil, aged about 13, was a part an Oxford University study and. had been outfitted with a GPS collar. Safari operators said he was an "iconic" animal who was recognised by many visitors to Hwange due to his distinctive black mane.