Now, protesters have set up shop outside of the River Bluff Dental office in Bloomington, Minnesota, marking a memorial for the beloved cat that lived at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
The protest began early Wednesday morning, with Mark Balma, a portrait artist, showing up as one of the first people to show their support for the majestic creature that was killed on July 6.
— Tamer Yazar (@tameryazar) July 30, 2015
“It’s a real tragedy. These are great creatures,” Balma told KMSP-TV. “It’s my silent protest, if you think of it that way. But it’s also giving attention to Cecil, rather than the dentist.”
Sarah Madison, a Minneapolis mother, dressed her three-year-old son in a lion costume with a sign on his chest that read: “protect me, don’t hunt me.”
— Lindsey Seavert (@LindseySeavert) July 29, 2015
“I really want the national and international community to know that Minnesota is just as outraged and ashamed,” Madison said. “And we need to look at big hunting practices.”
The police officers shut down the half-block surrounding Palmer’s practice, which was covered with lion stuffed animals, and then issued a statement regarding the protest, which took place without incident.
“The Bloomington Police Department is aware of a protest being organized on social media for this afternoon at the River Bluff Dental Office in Bloomington. We do not discuss our operational plans before an event nor the numbers of officers involved. Our primary concern is the overall safety of those individuals involved in the protest or who live or work in the area. In preparation for this planned protest, some streets or turn lanes in the area may be blocked to assist with crowd control or traffic flow.”
The outrage directed towards Palmer started after he reportedly paid over $50,000 to a park ranger in order to have the “privilege” of hunting Cecil the lion, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the task force, said Cecil was lured from the park with bait, shot with a crossbow, and then pursued by the hunter for 40 hours. When Palmer and his crew discovered the animal was still alive, they shot him with a rifle, skinned and decapitated him, and then left his corpse to rot.
Cecil, who was known for his friendly demeanor and gorgeous mane, was wearing a GPS device at the time of his murder, which led the park to the discovery of his body. Apparently, Palmer and his team had taken efforts to remove the device and destroy it so no one would know how or where he was killed.
— Glen Stubbe (@gspphoto) July 29, 2015
Palmer has since apologized for his hunt, and issued a statement to the media, explaining that he though the Zimbabwe hunt was legal.
“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.”
Not only has Palmer been receiving numerous phone calls, with people voicing their outrage over his illegal hunt, his Yelp page has also been flooded with negative reviews.
What do you think about Walter Palmer closing his dental practice? Do you agree with the protesters? Leave your comments below.
[Photo via YouTube screenshot]