Who shot Cecil? First it was thought that a mystery Spaniard had the blood of one of Africa’s most famous lions on his hands. Then came a fresh twist. The Cecil slayer, Zimbabwean conservations said on Tuesday, was in fact a dentist from Minnesota.
American Walter Palmer was said to be “quite upset” as the hunter became hunted. Zimbabwean police warned that he faced poaching charges, while there was a furious backlash on social media, with Facebook users variously calling for him to be publicly shamed, have his teeth pulled out without anaesthetic or be hunted and killed.
Cecil the lion, known for his black mane, was about 13 years old and a famous attraction for wildlife tourists in Zimbabwe until, earlier this month, he was tempted outside a national park using bait and shot with a bow and arrow. He is believed to have taken 40 hours to die.
In a statement to the Guardian, Palmer confirmed he had been in Zimbabwe in early July on a bow hunting trip. “I hired several professionals and they secured all proper permits,” said Palmer. “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,” he said. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
Palmer, who is from Eden Prairie, just outside of Minneapolis, said he had not been contacted by authorities — either in Zimbabwe or the US — about the situation, but was willing to answer any questions they might have for him. “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity that I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he said.
Quite a bit to unpack there in that statement, starting with the “I thought I followed the law!” Jails are full of people who thought they were just following the law. The there’s the “known, local favorite” bit- because it is just perfectly acceptable to travel across the world and slaughter unknown or unpopular animals for shits and giggles. Who gets to decide that popularity contest, btw? “No, man. Leave Cecil alone, he’s chill. But you see that rhino over there named Bert? Yeah. Fuck him. No one likes him.”
Then there is the “taking of this lion” euphemistic bullshit. Where did you take Cecil? For a fucking walk? For ice cream? No, you human stain, you didn’t take him anywhere. You lured him into a trap, shot him with a bow and arrow, and then let the majestic beast suffer before 40 hours before someone shot him to death. Then you skinned him and took his head for a trophy.
Fuck you. I hope your business goes under and you die in a hunting accident.