(Hwange, Zimbabwe — July 28, 2015) – A Minnesota dentist has more than just a toothache tonight as he faces international outrage over his killing of a lion during a hunting trip to Zimbabwe.
Walter Palmer killed 13-year-old Cecil the Lion on or about July 1 while hunting at the Hwange National Park. While he felt it was a fulfilling experience, and a crowning achievement for his hunting adventures, the outrage didn’t start building until it was learned that the kill took place outside the park’s boundaries on private land.
For his part, Palmer issued his own mea culpa today – by blaming others for his own slaughter – to an increasingly angry public:
- “In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.
“I 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. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.
“I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the US about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.
“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”
In addition to intense outrage on social media, Palmer’s dental practice has been assaulted via phone and E-mail. For those interested, here’s his contact information:
- River Bluff Dental
10851 Rhode Island Avenue
South Bloomington, MN 55438
Besides an angry public, Palmer also has to deal with:
- The Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe
- The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
- The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association
- Zimbabwean Police
While officials from Zimbabwe may be looking to question – or even arrest – Palmer, it’s unlikely he’ll be going back to the country, even if he’s brought up on charges.
“We take the safety of our citizens very seriously,” said a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Are we concerned about Mr. Palmer at this juncture? Of course we are! I’d be lyin’ if I said otherwise. And we’re not going to simply hand over an American citizen just because another country says so – no matter how heinous and boneheaded a crime they’ve committed.”
Others are questioning the “feigned outrage” at Palmer by Zimbabwe’s authorities.
“It’s entirely possible [Palmer] shot Cecil on private land,” said an animal rights activist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And it’s entirely possible that what he did was illegal. Completely true. But give me a break! If Zimbabwe was really serious about preventing things like Cecil’s death, it’s really very simple. They should simply BAN HUNTING IN ZIMBABWE!”