Baku, July 30, AZERTAC
An American dentist has been revealed as the man who killed the most famous lion in Zimbab¬we — and now, the hunt is on for him , according to New York Post.
Walter James Palmer, a 55-year-old cavity-filler from Minnesota, paid $50,000 to kill Cecil, a legendary beast living at the Hwange National Park.
Palmer denied knowing which lion he shot with a crossbow and said he regrets the killing.
"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 in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.
"I deeply ¬regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."
He added that his guides had "secured all proper permits" for the July 1 hunt.
Some outraged animal lovers called for Palmer's head. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals even went as far as declaring the dentist be "preferably hanged."
"Hunting is a coward's pastime," PETA tweeted on Tuesday.
"To get a thrill at the cost of life this man gunned down loved #CecilTheLion w/ a high-powered weapon."
Palmer went out with two African men — a professional hunter and a farm owner — in the middle of the night, tying an animal carcass to their car to lure Cecil out of his protected park, according to the anti-poaching Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
After Palmer took down the 13-year-old lion, ZCTF said the body was beheaded and skinned.
"The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil's cubs," said Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of ZCTF.
All three men face poaching charges that could put them behind bars for up to 15 years, according to Zimbabwe police spokeswoman Charity Charamba.