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National Treasure Killed In Trophy Hunt; American Dentist Feels The Hot Breath Of Global Scorn

We have no words.

Calling it a hunt would be like calling those fish in the proverbial barrel dangerous animals who had to be shotgunned in self defense.

This week we learned a Minnesota dentist with past problems reading the terms of his hunting license engaged a Zimbabwean hunting guide to help lure a beloved 13-year-old lion named Cecil off the unprotected parklands where the lion reigned supreme and shot him with an arrow.

We can only imagine that dentist Walter Palmer felt the thrill of the hunt for the 40 hours hunters tracked the wounded animal, eventually administered a coup de grace by gunshot, and then proceeded to skin and decapitate Cecil – we would guess so that his head could be added to others in that den in Minnesota – before dumping the remains outside his former home in Hwange National Park.

The “hunters” also allegedly tried to destroy the GPS collar that Cecil was wearing at the time he was “taken,” the tracking device part of a research effort on Hwange lions backed by Oxford University.

To be fair, we’ve done our share of hunting and shooting, and our ancestors certainly kept their larders supplied with venison. But to kill an animal simply to be able to add it’s head to our trophy wall is such an unfathomable concept for us our head began to hurt as soon as we began to consider it.

With people like Palmer roaming the globe in search of trophies – and apparently willing to pay the price of an SUV to get one – it’s little wonder why we keep hearing about the palmer2world-wide decline of these magnificent animals. They have enough to fear from indigenous poachers armed with wire snares and AK-47s – throw a marauding Minnesotan with a compound bow and money to burn into the mix and the future looks grim indeed.

Palmer, it appears, is paying beyond the $55,000 he shelled out to “take” Cecil – hunter’s argot for “kill.” Along with a pending poaching charge and worldwide condemnation, the father of two has also seen his business targeted, taking down his practices’ Facebook page faster than he renews his hunting license each year.

Animal rights activists, Zimbabweans, schoolchildren, late-night talk show hosts and just about everyone else with the mental capacity to understand that far too many among us are still willing and able to wipe out a species for some unspecified, unfathomable buzz are voicing their displeasure with Walter Palmer.

For a time at least, perhaps as least as long as it took Cecil to bleed out and finally succumb to his pursuers, Palmer will get a taste of what it is like to be hunted.

We’re hoping he’ll learn something from the experience.


  1. Strapping bait to the hood of your Land Rover and setting up outside a park in order to lure an alpha lion out of a protected park isn’t hunting – it’s assassination.

  2. “We’re hoping he’ll learn something from the experience.”

    Don’t count on it. This guy LIKES what he does too much. And unfortunately there are others like him out there who feel the same way. I think we’ve got maybe another decade of wild lions left before these killers wipe them off the earth. They they’ll have to go to one of their ranches in Texas and shoot them while tethered to get their kicks.

  3. Maleficent! A small man really. He must be compensating for something. Why couldn’t he have just gotten an Alfa Romeo?

  4. A pheasant or a duck for your table. I get it if you must eat meat, but to go out and kill a lion for its head is nothing short of disgusting.

  5. Apparently they took the head and the hide and left the meat to rot in the sun. This represents a very different perspective from anyone who has ever known hunger. These were f’ing aliens from America, and every one of them shames us a little.

  6. Not a bright moment for us as the Alpha Species. If you wonder why science is so gloomy about our collective futures and life on this planet it is because men like this exist in our world and think nothing of ruining it in the name of sport or profits. They need to be stopped. For a moment at least he has been – but I agree he’ll do this again.

  7. I’m glad to see so many commenters agree that phony hunting by rich bozos is a disgrace. Now may we broaden our respect for living things and withdraw our respect from people who kill animals in this country?

  8. I don’t understand trophy hunting and find it kind of gross. That said, Lions are not endangered and, to the extent they are threatened, it is from poaching and not from highly regulated hunting. This case may have been illegal, but it does not suggest that the practice of regulated hunting should be banned. Trophy hunting is big business in African and a ban would cause significant economic harm.

    If this dentist knew that his guides were breaking the law, then he should be held accountable. But if not, then I think his current vilification is unwarranted. Hunting these days (in the US) is primarily for recreation and not nutrition. I see little moral distinction between killing a wild pig and a Lion– in the context of a managed, vibrant and sustainable wild populations of both (which is the case).

  9. Zimbabwe has a very very poor record of prosecuting these types of crimes. In fact if this man has 50,000 to spend on the hunt I have no doubt he’ll have enough to buy his way out of the courts. Zimbabwe couldn’t care less. They WILL care when all the wildlife is gone however – and NO ONE COMES to see the dust bowl their country has become.

  10. While some of the social media venom has been over the top some of it has also been pretty darn good:

    “Walter J. Palmer, DDS
    Specializing In Extraction & Cosmetic procedures, specifically Whole Head Extraction and Skin Removal.”

    “Good dentist but be careful. I complained about the long wait and got an arrow through the neck.”

  11. The Internet Hate Storm over this act is expected but a little crazy so I’m steering clear. My one question is why? Why would someone feel compelled to do this? I’m not hearing much in the way of an answer and the man’s own response was weak to say the least. The latest attempt to make him sound like some sort of conservationist is crazy. “Taking” an animal removes it from the number of its species on the planet, and those numbers are falling at an alarming rate. I also don’t think Zimbabwe is as upset as some would have us believe but we’ll see.

  12. It seems to me that very little of the outrage is solely due to the dentist’s potential *criminal* culpability in this case (did he know that his guides were breaking the law?). Instead, people are using this event to express moral outrage at hunting in general (or at least hunting of “popular” species).

    The latter is a fine topic for conversation and debate, but demonizing this dentist only seems reasonable in the context of the former.

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