A Minneapolis dentist, Walter James Walker kills lion and created an international outrage when it was discovered that he killed Cecil the lion, a tourist favorite at Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told The Washington Post in a phone interview, “He was beautiful — one of the most beautiful animals you’d ever see. Nine times out of 10, doing the safari drive, you’d come across him walking with his family. He was one of the animals it was guaranteed you were going to see. Thousands have seen him.”
The Minnesota-based dentist said he had the correct permits to hunt and kill the animal earlier this month. But the two people he hired to lure the lion to its death have been charged with breaching hunting quotas and appeared in court Wednesday. The Associated Press reported they had been paid at least $50,000 by Palmer.
The conservation group alleges that Palmer and the guides lured Cecil from the national park to an unprotected area by strapping a “dead animal to their vehicle” during a night time hunt.
Once the lion was off national park land, Palmer allegedly shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but did not kill him. The group then tracked the wounded animal for 40 hours, finally shooting and killing him, Rodrigues said. Cecil was skinned and beheaded.
Palmer and the guides discovered that Cecil had been fitted with a GPS collar and tried to destroy it, Rodrigues said. The tracking device was part of an Oxford University study of the impact of hunting in the area around Hwange National Park.
Mr. Rodrigues also stated that
“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy…will most likely kill all six of Cecil’s cubs in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.”
A stateside official expressed anger, too. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, in a statement late Tuesday called for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to see whether any U.S. laws were violated.
Palmer clams he’s sorry, and didn’t know it was illegal. Oh yeah? Well read this –
NBC news reports: Palmer has a felony record over the hunting of black bear in Wisconsin, court documents show.
In 2006, Palmer had a permit to hunt bears within a certain area near Phillips, in northern Wisonsin. But on September 1, 2006, he was part of a group who killed a black bear 40 miles outside the permitted zone, based on court documents from April 2008.
Palmer and the group realized what they had done, and agreed amongst themselves “if any authorities were to ask where the bear had been killed, they would say” it was hunted within the correct area, the documents added.
They transported the carcass to a registration station where they certified the animal had been killed legally, the documents said, adding that the body was later taken to Minnesota, where Palmer lives.
Palmer was charged with knowingly making false statements to an agent of the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, having “falsely stated that he thought the bear had been killed legally”. The 2008 court documents show Palmer was fined $3,000 and given a year’s probation after pleading guilty over the 2006 illegal killing of the black bear in Wisconsin.
I’d be afraid to have this guy work on my mouth: he’d pull out all my teeth just for the fun if it. Oh, and by the way –
According to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, Palmer is properly licensed to practice in Minnesota,
However, citing the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, the dentist was also the subject of a sexual harassment complaint settled in 2006. He admitting no wrongdoing and agreed to pay a former receptionist more than $127,000, the Associated Press said.
And just to make sure we know HE is above the law:
He was also convicted in Minnesota court in 2003 for fishing without a licence.
Back in Zimbabwe, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Palmer will face charges of poaching, the AP reported. Emmanuel Fundira, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, said that Palmer’s whereabouts are currently unknown.