A spokesperson for the Zimbabwe police says that they are searching for an American dentist, Walter James Palmer, after determining he is responsible for killing the beloved Cecil the lion with a crossbow after his guides lured him from the national park. Police note that Palmer will face poaching charges for killing the protected animal.
WILX reports that the American dentist who paid over $50,000 to hunt Cecil the lion is now being sought after by the Zimbabwe police for charges of poaching. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, allegedly used a crossbow to kill Cecil the lion after his hunting guide lured the animal out of the Hwange National Park with bait. After shooting Cecil the lion with the crossbow, the pair then stalked the severely injured animal for 48 hours before shooting him dead.
Police have confirmed that Walter Palmer was the American hunter responsible for Cecil’s death, and note that they are currently trying to locate the dentist so that he may face poaching charges. Emmanuel Fundira, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, says that Palmer’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
According to CNN, Palmer has vacated his dental practice, closing the doors as a slew of hate mail is left at the doorstep. The dentist claims that he had “no idea” the lion he “took” was protected and collared. Instead, Palmer blames his professional hunting guides for the illegal kill, saying he “relied on” their expertise.
“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.”
Despite the Zimbabwe police stating they are searching for Palmer, the dentist claims that no one from the American government or government of Zimbabwe has contacted him regarding the illegal kill. However, Palmer said if they did contact him, he would assist them in the investigation as he “deeply regrets” killing this particular lion.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”
Though Palmer says he partakes in “an activity” that is responsible and legal, this isn’t the first time the dentist has been implicated in illegal hunting activity. In fact, in 2009, Palmer was placed on hunting probation for one year and paid a fine for illegally killing a black bear in Wisconsin after giving false statements about the location of the kill.
Do you think Walter James Palmer should return to Zimbabwe to face poaching charges for killing Cecil the lion?
[Image Credit: Facebook via Daily Mail]