There’s been quite an uproar concerning Walter Palmer, a dentist and big-game hunter from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the “beloved” Zimbabwe game-preserve lion. Cecil’s “beloved” status however appears to be mostly posthumous, since he wasn’t exactly a household name while alive.
It’s reported that Palmer paid $50,000 in permit fees in order to hunt. According to Palmer, he believed that he was on a legal hunt and had no idea that Cecil had been lured off the preserve. It wasn’t as if Palmer had set up a sniper’s nest at the municipal zoo or had laid land mines in the savanna. Nevertheless, the government of Zimbabwe which was quite willing to take Palmer’s money in the first place for a “legal” kill, now wants to extradite him to stand trial and face possible imprisonment of up to ten years if convicted. Zimbabwe hardly has a stellar human rights record so maybe they hope to score some animal rights points to help balance things out.
On the home front, the hunter has become the hunted, by the not-so-social media. Hundreds of thousands of tweets, Facebook postings, as well as an online petition to the White House demanding action are in full circulation. As this is being written, Palmer is still in incognito. Even after the Cecil the lion news story is forgotten by the public, I doubt if life will ever be the same for Walter the dentist.