Who Shot Cecil The Friendly African Lion? A [email protected]#$ing Dentist From Minnesota (SCREENSHOTS)

If you have read the story of the murder of Cecil the friendly African lion and thought, “I’d really like to knock that guy’s teeth out,” you might be surprised to learn that teeth are the murderer’s specialty.

Walter J. Palmer of River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, Minnesota is probably not having the best of days. While the identity of the man who bribed park employees at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe with roughly $55,000 to lure the lion outside of park grounds so he could kill it has been a mystery — he was initially thought to be from Spain — Palmer was later revealed to be the person who killed Cecil. At Palmer’s behest, the lion was enticed outside the park with a freshly-dead animal. Once the lion was outside park grounds, Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow.

Injured, the lion attempted to get away, but Palmer stalked the dying animal for almost 48 hours and ultimately finished Cecil off with a rifle. Then, the dentist skinned Cecil and beheaded him.

Cecil’s death forces the park to kill his six cubs, as a new male lion in the pride would not allow them live in order to encourage the lioness to mate with him — in other words, by senselessly killing the 13-year-old lion, he murdered six more.

“As far as I understand, Walter believes that he might have shot that lion that has been referred to as Cecil,” a spokesman for Palmer told The Guardian. “What he’ll tell you is that he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides, so he’s not denying that he may be the person who shot this lion. He is a big-game hunter; he hunts the world over.”

While Palmer insists his actions were legal, authorities disagree:

During the hunt – which the organisers later admitted was badly carried out – Cecil was lured at night about half a mile out of the national park using bait, and then shot with a bow and arrow. The next day he was found wounded by the hunters and killed, before being beheaded and skinned.

Animals cannot be killed within the confines of the park. The hunters then removed his collar – further contravening park rules.

The professional hunter, Theo Bronkhorst, said he reported the “mistake” to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority the following day, and it is now being investigated. The landowner bordering the national park has been charged – along with Mr Bronkhorst. Both are due to appear in court on August 6.

“Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, is facing criminal charges for allegedly killing a collared lion on Antoinette farm in Gwayi Conservancy, Hwange district on 1 July 2015,” Zimbabwe National Parks said in the statement. “All persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges. Both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt.”

Bronkhorst says that, though he and his compatriots removed Cecil’s collar, he didn’t know the lion was famous. “It was a magnificent, mature lion. We did not know it was a well-known lion. I had a licence for my client to shoot a lion with a bow and arrow in the area where it was shot,” he said.

“There’s considerable embarrassment about this – the Americans have banned the import of elephant trophies,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. “We believe the head and pelt are still in Bulawayo.” Rodrigues calls for all involved to be charged with poaching.  “If you’re a local and you kill an animal without a licence you get between two and five years in prison,” he said.

Palmer has indeed traveled the world murdering majestic animals. He was profiled in 2009 by the New York Times after killing a trophy elk with his trusty bow. Palmer paid $45,000 for the privilege of killing the elk.

A Flickr album highlights some of Palmer’s exploits:

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Other photos of Palmer’s hunting “trophies” are featured by Trophy Hunt America:

World Record Archery Lion-M Palmer Family 049-M World Record Archery Rhino-M

 

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Palmer has been in trouble in the past for his exploits. In 2008,he faced up to five years’ prison time, and was eventually placed on probation for uttering a false statement to a federal agent in connection with a black bear he hunted in Wisconsin. He shot the bear about 40 miles outside the zone in which he was licensed to hunt, but told a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent that he killed the bear in the correct zone.

The dentist removed his practice’s Facebook page and changed his personal profile to “River River,” but ultimately took that down, too. The web site for River Bluff Dental says that Palmer “has a unique talent for creating dazzling smiles that complement each individuals tooth structure, skin tone, and facial attributes.” It also tells patients that he enjoys “all outdoor activities” — including anything ” allowing him to stay active and observe and photograph wildlife.” Oddly, the web site does not mention the bloodthirsty dentist’s love of senseless killing.

It’s not a very happy day in the office for Palmer, however. Journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that a message at the office initially said they were assisting patients, but later announced that they were closed. When Addicting Info attempted to reach out to his office, the number was busy.

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While Palmer has taken as many steps as he can to hide from public scrutiny, there is one place where denizens of The Internet can allow him to know how they feel — Yelp, where he enjoys a one-star rating:

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The lion Palmer murdered was something of a treasure. Cecil had a reputation for being friendly with park visitors, even walking up and “posing” for photographs. “He never bothered anybody,” said Rodrigues. “He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.”

Watch Cecil walk up to some tourists and say “hi,” below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4a2htZ2wIQ&w=560&h=315]


Featured Image via Trophy Hunt America