A Dentist From Minnesota Is in Hiding After Killing a Famous Lion
I saw this all over my news feed yesterday and it made me sick to my stomach. Then, last night, I watched Jimmy Kimmel talk about it and actually get choked up. Watch the video and Jimmy's reaction at 4:15. Here is what we know so far;
A 55-year-old dentist from Eden Prairie, Minnesota named Walter Palmer paid $55,000 to go on a big game hunting trip to Africa earlier this month. He's gone on these types of trips before and whether or not you agree, they are legal. Except for when Dr. Palmer is involved.
He shot and killed Cecil the lion, which was actually part of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. His "guides" lured Cecil out of the park by dragging a dead animal carcass behind their vehicle. Ah, and Cecil was the leader of the entire pride of lions so his death comes with even more ramifications. All his offspring will be killed by what ever lion takes over the pride.
Dr. Palmer and his guies shot him with a crossbow, then finished him off with a rifle...4 HOURS LATER. After he killed Cecil, the guides cut off his head and illegally removed his collar. They tried to destroy the GPS tracker but were unsuccessful.
When the story got out yesterday, social media lit up! He has had to close his office, shut down his website and his Facebook page and retreat into hiding.
He issued a statement yesterday saying he had no idea Cecil was famous and, "I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt."
This is not the first time he's gotten into trouble for an illegal hunt. He was caught shooting a black bear outside of a hunting zone in Wisconsin in 2006 and lied to a federal agent about it. He plead guilty to making false statements and could've been facing up to five years in prison but, as far as we know, he didn't serve any time.
The fallout from this hunt might not go so well. His two tour guides are going to be in court this week facing poaching charges and the police in Zimbabwe say they want to talk to Walter. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says all three could be looking at up to 15 years in prison.
As Jimmy Kimmel stated in his monologue last night. Instead of all the negative stuff that has come out of this, he suggests we turn it into a positive and give the the task force. Their website is wildcru.org. They were the organization that was actually studying Cecil and owned the GPS in his collar.
The hunter has quite literally become the hunted.