Outrage has sparked worldwide after it was revealed that a game hunter, American Dentist Dr. Walter Palmer, was found to have killed a much beloved and semi-tame 13 year old lion, Cecil. Dr Palmer paid US$50,000 for the privilege to hunt for this lion, and had a team in Zimbabwe organise the expedition. As it is illegal to hunt in Hwange National Park, the lion was baited out of the park by a dead animal being dragged behind a vehicle, once he was out of the park they shinned a spotlight on him and shot him with a crossbow. To add to the heartbreak for many, is that the lion didn’t die from the wound; he lived for another 40 hours in pain, until they finally found him and shot him dead.
Dr Palmer’s previous record is also not very clean, having 43 kills of game, he also was found guilty of killing a bear and falsely claiming the bear was killed within the permitted zone so that it wouldn’t be known where he killed it, he received 12 months’ probation. On top of this he has been convicted of fishing without a license. He also was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint that was settled out of court for US$127,000.
A petition was launched in the US to have the Dr extradited to Zimbabwe were he would face legal action against him, as the kill was illegal, within 24 hours over 100,000 people had signed the petition which means that the US Government must launch an investigation regarding the matter.
It will be hard to imagine that his dental practise will open again, as there is daily protests out front, and looking at the reviews on Google and Yelp (Yelp and constantly removing the reviews but people are then just re-writing then), it would be a good idea for the Dentist to close his business for good. Dr Palmer is currently in hiding and is unlikely to come out for some time due to the high volumes of anger directed at him.
In Africa over 600 lions a year are killed for sport… Lions, being a vulnerable and slowly becoming endangered species.
What are your thoughts on this? What is your opinion of hunting big game? What do you think should be done?