Dr. Walter J. Palmer, the Bloomington, MN dentist who allegedly killed Cecil the Lion says he didn’t know he killed a protected animal with bow and arrow during his big game hunt in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Palmer went on to say that during his recent Zimbabwe hunting expedition, he “hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits.” As far as he knew, “everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.”
As for Cecil, a popular attraction at the Hwange National Park who was also being studied in an Oxford University program? In the letter obtained by Fox 9, Dr. Palmer insisted that he “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.” Instead, he “relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
Wildlife officials have accused the Zimbabwe hunting guides “of taking $50,000 from Palmer in order to coax Cecil out of the Hwange National Park and onto private land, where he was beheaded and skinned,” per NBC News. If found guilty, the men could be fined $20,000 and each face a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, specifically, had some harsh words for Cecil, telling E! News in a statement: “Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.”
I wonder if Ingrid Newkirk has the same compassion for the thousands of people raped and murdered by Boko Haram and ISIS as they do for lions?
The shades at Palmer’s dental practice, River Bluff Dental, were drawn on Tuesday. A dental staffer told Fox 9 it would likely be closed for the remainder of the week, and its website and Facebook presence has been removed. Meanwhile, people from all over the country have flooded his practice’s Yelp page and Google+ page to compose nasty reviews and various hate messages.
His dental practice on Rhode Island Avenue has a herd of stuffed animals on the doorstep, and a planned protest by local Animal Rights Coalition will ensue there this afternoon.
I don’t know what to make of this all yet. I am saddened that this lion was taken and typically am not in favor of big game exotic animal hunting; especially if the animal is protected or near extinction. My assumption is that the dentist was more aware of the situation than he is letting on and that luring the lion out of the sanctuary probably occurred with his knowledge.
If he is found to be guilty of a crime, I think he should pay the consequences, but I can’t get behind pitchfork nation on this by putting his personal information online and threatening his life. There are more more tragic things in this world happening right now for us to be outraged about.
What is your opinion to this story? All comments welcome.