Meet the American Dentist Who Paid $55K to Kill Cecil the Lion

Shockwaves were sent around the world earlier this month after a hunter killed Cecil, one of the most famous lions in Africa. Cecil the Lion as he was known, was a massive 13-year-old male lion. The big cat was a well-known and popular attraction in Zimbabwe and huge part of the country’s tourism. The hunter who brought him down is facing poaching charges, and reportedly could spend up to 10 years in jail for this kill.

Cecil was collared to indicate that he was a tagged and protected animal for research, and lived on conservancy land for preservation.

Cecil was reportedly killed by a bow and arrow before his skin was removed and his head hacked off as a trophy. Now the name of the hunter who killed him has been identified as Dr. Walter J. Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota.

Palmer allegedly lured Cecil away from the national park with animal meat before shooting him with his bow and arrow.

Cecil didn’t succumb to the wound, and fled—badly injured. Palmer and his team of professional hunters tracked the cat for 40 hours before eventually finding him and shooting him dead.

Palmer, Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst, and landowner Honest Ndlovu are due in court to face poaching charges over Cecil’s death.

Cecils head, which was meant to be a trophy, was confiscated as a part of the investigation.

Reports are saying that Palmer paid $55,000 for the hunting trip.

A representative for Palmer reportedly said that his client does not deny killing Cecil, but maintains that he had legal permits and professional guides. Palmer is apparently “quite upset” about the situation, but maintains that some facts are being misreported.

This isn’t Palmer’s first run-in with the law when it comes to big game hunting.

In 2008 Palmer got in trouble with the law after he killed a black bear in an area that he was not licensed to hunt. He plead guilty to making false statements during that investigation and was fined.

Palmer has hunted killed many big-game animals, including a rhino, elk, and leopard.

His professional biography states that he enjoys “outdoor activities” and “anything allowing him to stay active and observe and photograph wildlife.”