North Dakota Native Revealed as Killer of Zimbabwe’s Beloved Lion
A Minnesota dentist, originally from North Dakota, has been accused of killing one of Zimbabwe's most loved animals in Hwange National Park, Cecil the lion.
Two sources have now identified Walter James Palmer as the hunter who allegedly paid $35,000 - $55,000 to shoot and kill Cecil with a crossbow. Conservation groups in Zimbabwe described the lion as a visitor favorite who seemingly enjoyed human contact.
It is believed the money was used to pay private game park owner, Honest Ndlovu, and Zimbabwean hunter, Theo Bronkhorst, to lure Cecil out of the national park to be shot. Both men are facing poaching charges.
Palmer has admitted that he may be the one who shot the famous lion, but he had all the legal permits as this is not his first time hunting large, wild animals. He and his wife traveled to Europe to hunt chamois, fallow deer and ibex. In fact, he has hunted in Zimbabwe before. In 2010, he shot a leopard with an arrow and is featured on a hunting website.
What people find most disturbing, is the way Cecil was killed. Although lions are not a protected species in Zimbabwe, investigations will show that the killing of Cecil was illegal because the owner of the land did not receive a lion on his hunting quota.
The skin and head of Cecil have been found and will be used in the investigation. The current whereabouts of Palmer are unknown.