Walter Palmer is a dentist from the US state of Minnesota. In his spare time, he goes on big-game hunting trips.
Walter recently landed up in trouble for killing a local favorite, Cecil the Lion, while on a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe last July. Zimbabwe has now announced that the country won’t press charges for the beloved big cat’s death. “There has already been ample publicity surrounding the lion’s death”, says Opa Muchinguri, the Zimbabwean minister for environment, water and climate.
“Tourists are welcome here. No hunting though”, she adds.
The Zimbabwean government has charged two locals though.
Palmer and his trackers lured out Cecil from the Hwange National Park and shot with a compound bow. The lion lived for another 40 hours after he was shot, while the gang tracked him down and shot him again. He was then skinned and beheaded. Palmer and his team even tried to destroy the GPS collar that Cecil was wearing.
Worldwide protests unfolded after it was discovered that Cecil was dead. There were demonstrations outside Walter’s Bloomington office. He and his family were attacked in social media under the hashtag #WalterPalmer. He was called “a killer”, “satan”, “a poor excuse of a human being”, among other insults. A Facebook page was created to sham Palmer. It now has more than 17,000 members. Celebrities like the actress Alyssa Milano, model Cara Delevingne, and TV host Sharon Osbourne, with a combined total of 8.39 million followers joined in the protest.
Palmer and his family had to go underground and close down his business to weather the storm. He has since then returned and started working again from last month.
Palmer says that he didn’t know that Cecil was a local favorite. “I couldn’t see the collar because it was buried beneath Cecil’s mane. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt”. Palmer then pointed out that it was not illegal to kill a collared lion.
Apparently, Cecil’s killing isn’t the first time Palmer has landed up in trouble while hunting. Court documents have revealed that a man with the same name and age, and from the same town, illegally killed a black bear in Wisconsin several years back.
He was sentenced to one year on probation and ordered to pay a fine of nearly $3,000.