When Cecil the Lion, the beloved lion in Zimbabwe, with the black fringe mane, was killed by Minnesota dentist, Dr. Walter J. Palmer, it created “international outrage.” Now, a new book chronicling the last days of Cecil’s life will be released in April. An excerpt has been published in National Geographic in advance of the book release.
Cecil the lion, who lived in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe, was only 13 when the hungry lion was “lured” with an elephant carcass and put into easy range of Minneapolis-based dentist, Walter Palmer.
According to National Geographic, baiting lions is illegal in Zimbabwe.
Palmer was reportedly “downwind” of the elephant carcass, waiting in a tree stand, when Cecil came to the carcass, and began to eat.
Palmer took a single shot with his compound bow and wounded the lion, but did not kill him.
After he was shot, members of the hunting party revealed that they heard Cecil as he “struggled to breathe.”
The doctor was told to shoot again. It would not be until “nearly” a half-day later that Palmer would take a second shot, and put the suffering Cecil out of his misery.
According to the Washington Post, “the lion suffered incredible cruelty for at least 10 hours” before he died.
The head of the beautiful lion was removed, and eventually, the headless lion carcass was discovered without the GPS tracking collar.
These are just some of the details in the new book, Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil & the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats, written by biologist Andrew Loveridge.
“Devastated” by Cecil’s death, Loveridge had previously spent eight years studying big cats, particularly Cecil, who was collared, for Oxford University. After Cecil’s death, the biologist investigated the details of how he was killed, as well as the reasons why the tragedy of Cecil the lion from Zimbabwe ever happened in the first place.
He gathered information from interviews with those who were “involved in the hunt,” as well as analyzed Cecil’s GPS collar data, which was still on the lion when he was killed. The GPS information includes “the location data collected via satellite.”
In the excerpt, Loveridge explained that Cecil was actually quite an “easy” lion to hunt. Used to being in the company of humans, the Zimbabwe “park lion” was “well-fed.” Unlike really wild lions, Cecil’s guard was down, and the endangered species was a prime target for poachers and trophy hunters.
The GPS tracking collar that Loveridge and the researchers used to track Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was removed by the guide, and allegedly hung on a tree, close to “where Cecil was killed.” The guide insists that he moved it there “in a moment of panic.”
According to the Star Tribune, there is no indication, based on the book excerpt released, that Walter Palmer “knew what was being set up on his behalf, by his guide, who was paid $50,000.”
The Star Tribune attempted to contact and obtain “reactions” from the Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer, his attorney, Joe Friedberg, as well as Palmer’s “media consultant.” There was no response from the three as of Sunday evening.
An “avid trophy hunter,” Walter Palmer was well-documented for violating rules in other hunts, such a 2008 felony conviction when he lied to federal agents about where he hunted a bear in Wisconsin. According to Heavy, he shot a bear 40 miles outside of the hunting zone.