Almost overnight, a Minnesota dentist by the name of Walter Palmer became one of the most sought-after and reviled men in the world. Palmer was identified by several sources earlier this week as the man who killed Cecil the lion, a popular black-maned male in Zimbabwe’s Gwayi Conservancy.

Palmer is reportedly being sought by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, which has already charged Palmer’s guide, Theo Bronchorst, and a landowner, Honest Trymore Ndlovu.

“Theo Bronchorst, 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,” stated the agency in a press release. “The lion named ‘Cecil’ was well known and regularly sighted by tourists in the Main camp area of Hwange National Park. It is alleged that the hunter connived with the Antoinette land owner, Mr. Honest Trymore Ndlovu to kill the lion. Ongoing investigations to date, suggest that the killing of the lion was illegal since the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015. Therefore, all persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges.”

The identity of the man who actually shot the lion was unknown until Tuesday, when several news outlets ousted Palmer as individual who fatally wounded the lion with a bow and arrow. Since then the dentist has found himself the target of overwhelming criticism, including protests at his practice and thousands of negative reviews flooding his Yelp page.

“He has robbed the world of something important,” wrote one reviewer. “Why support his hideous habits and self-important, cruel attitude by giving him one dime of your money?”

Some were willing to come to Palmer’s defense and give him the benefit of the doubt. Palmer claimed that he believed everything was perfectly legal and that his guides had secured all the proper permits to take the lion.

“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,” he wrote in a prepared statement to press on Tuesday. “I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.”

As a man who has taken game all across the world—including another lion in a previous hunt—some are willing to believe that Palmer may have been duped or was simply ignorant of what was going on. However, critics assert that the methods used to bring in the lion suggest that Palmer knew the pursuit of Cecil was illegal all along.

According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a conservation group operating in the country, Palmer and Bronkhorst pusued the lion at night by luring the animal out of Hwange National Park, where the animal was protected, by tying an animal carcass to their car and driving to land owned by Ndlovu. The organization then claimed that Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow but merely wounded the animal, allowing it to suffer for about 40 hours before tracking it down and dispatching it with a firearm. While the men field dressed the lion, they discovered a GPS collar as part of a project funded by Oxford University. Conservationists believe that the group may have tried to destroy the collar. The lion’s remains were later confiscated by the Zimbabwe government.

“Walter Palmer apparently paid USD $50 000 for the kill and we assume Theo Bronkhorst received this money. Cecil, who was known all over the world would have earned millions of dollars just from sightseeing. There was apparently no quota or licence for a lion to be killed in this area,” stated the ZCTF.

Watch a video of Cecil before his death:

https://youtu.be/H4a2htZ2wIQ

Exotic big game hunting in Africa remains a controversial subject, but is legal in many countries. It provides wildlife agencies with much-needed funds for conservation efforts. These hunts, which are generally very expensive, are conducted with oversight and support from government agencies.

Earlier this year an American hunter paid $350,000 to legally hunt an endangered black rhino in Namibia. While the hunt still drew a fair amount of backlash, the harvest was fully supported and approved by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, which will be using the money to pay rangers, buy equipment, and combat poachers. The rhino was also chosen because it was an older male beyond its prime breeding age and considered a danger to younger rhinos.

Cecil, however, was a valuable tourist attraction and left behind dozens of cubs, which are now in danger.

“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 so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females. This is standard procedure for lions,” stated the ZCTF.

The BBC reported that Palmer has a history of violating hunting regulations. In 2006 Palmer illegally killed a black bear in Wisconsin and made false statements to officials, earning him a $3,000 fine and one year of probation. Palmer’s current whereabouts are unknown, but he has issued a statement apologizing for the death of Cecil.

“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he wrote.

CNN reported that lion hunting in Zimbabwe is currently legal with approval from government officials. There was a complete moratorium on lion hunting between 2005 and 2008 in the Gwayi Conservancy, but hunting was restarted in 2009.

Palmer has been receiving death threats, which you can learn about in the below video.

Image screenshot of video by Bryan Orford on YouTube

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  • Mark

    The hunter should have checked for himself that the proper permits were obtained before shooting the lion. So he made a mistake by not doing so. Believing to be legal on the say so of the PH and the landowner is normally all one needs though. It is normal practice to drag a dead animal for a distance to draw the attention of lions, leopards, etc., so no illegal activity there. The report says the collar could not be seen until they started caping it. Easy to believe with the huge mane he had. And for those who say he must be guilty because he is in hiding- This is because he has had death threats, not due to guilt.

  • Unfortunately, there’s a Big difference between a Black Rhino and “Cecil”. Cecil was a National Icon, the Black Rhino Wasn’t…

    • Randy

      The land owners farm borders the park. They knew “exactly” where they were. This guide is licenced so he can call himself a guide. He know the rules and knew there was no permit but Palmer certainly knew of Cecil. The farmers land has been hunted out completely since 2009. As a neighbor he hopes and waits for animals to come out of the park and cross his lands. He allows this to get hem used to it they come and go at will for a few months. when he has a nice Rhino or Elephant or Lion he calls men like Bronkhorst… Hey I have “””” and gives him the list and confidence level they will be there for a few days. Bronkhorst and hundreds like him then get out their black books ad call all the guy’s that they know have money and they keep calling till they found one that has the time to come he sets a price and the deal is done. Palmer would not have gone to this farm and knew he was paying $55,000 to bait and hunt Nothing. He was promised a great Lion. The neighbor had seen Cecil close to his lands on and off for a week. It is illegal to tempt an animal off a reserve over there. they knew to the inch where the boundary was. They did this at night. they cut and baited by driving back and forth next to this border they know well. they did this to bait Cecil out. They would have been happy with any big lion but like the farmer said… When they shone a light into the park they saw Cecil.. so that is documented.. no doubt Palmer knew they could not cross into the park. they waited and baited He was the largest dominant Male in that section of the park and they did this at night and the bow is the preferred method for poaching so BTW it is also illegal and Bronkhorst knew it. Everyone on the hunt knew it. It does not matter that Palmer did not think he was a favorite lion? Any Lion from that park was poaching the way they did it. To Flash Lights on an Animal in the Dark especially a Lion makes them tense up and freeze…. IN that moment they created. This was exactly a CANNED HUNT. that is enough for me. Here are the charges as they are written in these preliminary official documents for Walt’s extradition warrant.
      http://webmail.roadrunner.com/do/mail/message/download?msgId=CecilDELIM1013&part=2&l=en-US&v=twc_theme

      So you know. He has a ravenous appetite for killing. God knows how many Animals he has taken out of season or in no hunting zones. He was caught with an Illegal Bear Trophy head he had just killed. and there is a good description of the men he tried to get to lie for him but they all backed down when the feds questioned them back in 2006. He went into a protected Zone in WI not far from his MN home to do this. He then plead guilty he has nothing but money and a $3000 fine is less than he would have paid for a hunt to get a bear that size. It was a good deal for him all round. He can kill anything anytime, Has already bagged three other African Lions. When does it stop… its not about having a Nice trophy even after a while. it is about killing and the thrill of taking a life that he is into. I’d be careful. He is the kind of guy who might get a kick out of killing a person next. He bought his Florida Island Vacation Home for $1,1000,000 in 2012 I bet he got it cheap too. He has money to go anywhere and kill anything. ON another criminal note, he settled with one of his female employees for $125,000 in a sexual harassment case. Real class act here. I say Send him. A rich man like that could help change the burning world right now… I thought he was a doctor? No he goes to impoverished nations and like all game hunters would not give a shit if the permits paid for a nuclear bomb program…. He’d pa it to hunt. Don’t buy the Conservation crap angle hunters use… Read what hunting a Lion and disrupting a Pride does to Lions. If you really want to learn something. I did and I am amazed.
      http://www.lionaid.org/news/2010/11/the-effects-of-lion-trophy-hunting-on-lion-populations.htm

      Hope that helps

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Too call this person a hunter is unreal. He is not a “hunter”, he is nothing but a egohead that cares only about himself and wants is life. Whether he was naive about the situation or not, he was part of it. Personally, I find it hard to believe with his education and experience of “kills” that he knew nothing. He best get his wallet out and give a few million to the conservation fund over in Zimbabwe…I am sure he violated several international wildlife laws also. Maybe our Federal Gov’t can charge him. Wonder how many of his wall mounts were poached!…maybe we will find out someday…Shameful..

  • Jazz

    To Nortgern Michigan Boy how are you “sure he violated International Wildlife laws” do you have proof or are you just flapping jaws?
    When you pay a Zprofessional hunter who lived in that area and is paid to know the local hunting laws, and a landowner who definately should know the local laws and restrictions. And they both say go ahead and harvest this animal. The blame should be 90% on them. I’m definitely not saying he shouldn’t be found to have some fault here. Fine them all! But stop protesting outside his business, stop the death threats and leave him alone!!

    • Muricuh

      Yea….plead stupidity like every other American… “But he said I could….” Take responsibility if you did wrong. If he is did the research, he should be good to not be prosecuted, still a piece of shit, but legal… Just because the government is okay with a hunt doesn’t make you ethically and morally correct. Kids burn ants with magnifying glasses and hopefully grow up to realize that it is mean, when do you grow up and realize this isn’t any different Palmer?

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    To JAZZ, why don’t you try to stay clam and try to stop being a jerk, please stop saying something I didn’t do…..I am not protesting outside his door nor making threats. I am a real hunter, IF the lion parts are in the U.S……….they will be seized, as he would of violated international treaties and the Lacey Act. Don’t you remember what Ted Nugent did to the black bear in Canada?

  • Aaron Fulton

    Lets wait until the investigation is completed before accusing anyone of wrong doing, speculating can bite you in the ass in long run will wait till the investigation is completed , to any wrong doing.

  • Jazz

    I was in no way trying trying to be a jerk. It’s very frustrating that Animal Activist groups/ individuals can protest, make death threats, etc with no consequences. I am a life long hunter and condone only legal hunting practices. I was merely stating that stating something without complete proof should not be done. To my knowledge there has not been proof of any part of the animal brought into the US. If I ever had the $ for hunting outsource US(may never happen). I would trust the Proffesional Hunted or landowner I hired to know the local laws and to make sure I didn’t break them.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    If a person does have an opportunity to go on a hunt that’s requires a professional hunter or guide. Please do your homework. When it comes to them, it’s all about money. That’s why they do that, the guides, etc. Wife and I went on a black bear in northern Ontario. Law requires a non resident to go thru a guide. Found out months later the guide had 3 months experience prior to hunt, lied about things and I was overcharged. We were naive about the hunt. We should of checked out several other guides. Found out later that this guide was involved in a poaching of a bear with a guy that had an outdoor show.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Just off the CNN news, the Feds (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Law) are now looking for Mr Palmer. He is in hiding apparently and they want him to come in!!..So we will see what happens next.

  • Robert Page

    The vast majority of hunting outfitters both here, Europe and Africa enjoy reputations above reproach. Governments also realize that selective harvest hunting is the most efficient and cost-effective method of herd management and conservation,culling old and unproductive animals thereby protecting the gene pool and ensuring solid genetics and healthy herds. Although exceedingly closely regulated,it would be reasonable to assume that the odd “bad apple” will slip through the cracks which,on the surface, appears to be the case,here. As hunters and conservationists,it behoves us to be front and center in exposing people like this so, the full extent of our conservation laws can be brought to bear against violators. We must have “ZERO” tolerance.

  • Jonathan Shomron

    Smear naked Palmer with lard, then drop him in the middle of the African Veldt. If he reaches civilization he’s innocent, if the lions eat him he’s guilty. End of problem.

  • Deryn

    Cecil may not have died in vain…..who will dare poach/bend the rules now?

  • hamma

    fuck Cecil.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    To Hamma, you are either an Internet gangster or a mental case..What a coward, your a tuff guy Hamma, I bet you won’t say that to a person face…Saying something like you did, you should be banned from this site..maybe a lion will eat you slowly!!!!!!

  • fw

    Let’s step back a bit and try to notice a few items that seem to be key issues, by definition. First there is “Harvesting” and “Hunting”. they are NOT the same by any means, but “Harvesting” is growing in popularity AKA I am going to kill something with all sorts of aid, technology, backup’s etc., while “Hunting” is I will meet the game at their level, their terms and their place AKA Primary goal is not kill, but to hunt on fair terms.

    Be it lions, or deer, turkey, coyotes, or elephants, or or or or… now days “Harvesters” need the latest in trial cams, tree stands, electronic aids/game data, “Bow hunter” now is very high power “Crossbow-exotics with scopes and exotic bows, “Muzzle loader” is now inline, scope sighted pill powder (no even smokeless) sabots, and all of latter has no resemblance to why special seasons set up for boy/front feeder spirit of law, but manufactures making million off the cheater guns/bows. They are primary use by harvesters as real bows/front feeders to much bother for other then what is called “Long rifle hunters”, bow or gun.

    Due ot manufacture lobbyists and quest for profits at any cost, we have lost the true spirit of the hunter and hunting, rather would prefer to “harvest” then “hunt”. I have even seem big bad harvester on TV shooting a Zebra, why? We have lost the way as hunters, but enhanced the way of profits etc of “Harvesters”. .We have found that “Harvesters” are profitable, “save time on hunt” and pretty much remove the “Harvester” from any inconvenience of the time, efforts and knowledge of the hunter. Just pay a fee, go “harvest” and hurry home with tales of the “hunt” that was actually a “Harvest”. This guy is like way to many out there, “well since cannot kill ////// (In this case elephant) gotta kill //// (in this case lion). Really a true “harvester”, hunt at night, drag bait, and heavy backup. What happened to hunting and hunters, the sport, the real ethics, the fact of hunting at game level, not harvesting to kill?

    Sorry but I was raised by a hunter, my relatives, gunsmith, hunters all, and hunted across the world at the game level. They would no more set up feed plots, trail cams, high tech helpers and use cheater bows/guns and methods of :”Conveniences” then shoot cows in a field AKA a harvesting technique(?). I was brought up, for want of a better term, by “gentleman sportsmen”, who would be appalled at what is now called “Harvesting’. I was taught you should never need second shot, and perhaps your best day ever out hunting is when you watched the game in silence, and never took the shot.. The latter truly a “Harvesters” worst day. Sad to see how killing the game has become the new term/value for hunting the game.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Fw, your being too nice..these type of people are straight up ego heads that care only about themselves and their wants in life…Nothing else matters…I am a hunter of over 48 years and I don’t like people like Mr. Palmer. Incidents like this give the hunters a very bad name and there should be ZERO TOLERENCE for poaching.

  • cassius

    US fish and wildlife has no authority over something someone does.in Africa.So honestly the dentist can tell them where to go.and legally they can’t do anything.He has commited no crime in the United States.

    • fw

      C, I would suspect there is some sort of treaty or agreement and a US agency assigned there, But it is amusing how those that defend these animal murders, as little “hunting” via ethics involved as aid the economics in region, Last study I saw was they “helped” about 1/3 of 1% of the GDP there. But as usual when right is faced with facts, be it global warming or needless slaughter of animals, “jobs and economic issues will be impacted, blah blah. Kind of like the upper 3% paying more taxes” and right says well they pay 70% of taxes, yet own and control round 90-95% of all wealth. Way past time to end the trophy hunting, and why anyone has reason to shoot a “trophy giraffe or zebra simply escapes me..guess the lust to kill justifies their cowardly actions. To refer to such folks as hunters or sportsmen, is a big lie, they simply get off on killing, with lots of armed backup. Yep never know when that giraffe or zebra will charge, what next hunt wild horses in USA or visit local animal shelter?