Cecil the lion — one of the most beloved animals in Zimbabwe’s national parks — was killed by an American hunter. Walter Palmer is a dentist and father of two from Minnesota. He travelled to Zimbabwe to allegedly pay almost $55,000 to lure the lion out of the park and kill him with a bow and arrow.
Animals cannot be killed within the confines of Hwange National Park. It’s reported that the hunters lured the 13-year-old lion off of the park, where Palmer killed him with the bow and arrow. He was then beheaded and skinned. Palmer used the help of professional hunter from Zimbabwe who told local authorities he didn’t know the animal was famous and beloved. The Telegraph has the hunter’s statement: “It was a magnificent, mature lion. We did not know it was well-known lion. I had a license for my client to shoot a lion with a bow and arrow in the area where it was shot.” The professional hunter will face criminal charges for killing the collared lion, but there have been no reports regarding whether Palmer will face charges. This sounds exactly like poaching, so he should.
The father of two is well known in sport-hunting circles. He’s basically a serial killer of beautiful, majestic creatures. One trophy hunting blog features a photo essay of Palmers kills (Don’t worry – I used “donotlink” so you won’t be giving the trophy site traffic if you click). The last caption on the page reads, “One more to go, this record bood Roosevelt elk puts Walt to needing only one more animal qualifing for P&Y and he will have achieved a long difficult quest of harvesting every species of North Americian Big game to make the Pope & Young Record Book!!!!” In one of the photos he holds up the body of a beautiful leopard he shot for sport. In another, he proudly sits next to a dead giant white rhino.
A researcher from The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University who has been tracking the impact of sport hunting on the lion population inside the park from which Cecil was lured told National Geographic that he fears for the safety of the cubs and lionesses in the park now that Cecil has been killed. Cecil and another adult lion named Jericho led two prides with six lionesses and a dozen young cubs. The researcher says, “Jericho as a single male will be unable to defend the two prides and cubs from new males that invade the territory. This is what we most often see happening in these cases. Infanticide is the most likely outcome.”
It’s doubtful Palmer even thinks or cares about the repercussions of what he’s done, seeing as he’s spent a lifetime robbing beautiful animals of their lives for sport. But it’s pretty sinister that one father has — for no other reason than sport — lured another father away from his children to shoot, skin and behead him for a trophy.
That’s just sick.