Internet's claws are out for dentist who killed Cecil the lion

29 July 2015 - 18:43 By Sunday Times
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Cecil the lion. File photo.
Cecil the lion. File photo.
Image: AFP

Social-media users went into overdrive this week as they unleashed their fury on the US dentist who admitted to killing Zimbabwe's beloved Cecil the lion.

Cecil, a popular attraction among international visitors to Hwange National Park, was lured outside the reserve's boundaries by bait and killed earlier this month. The hunter has since been identified as Walter James Palmer, an experienced trophy hunter from Minnesota, who paid $50,000 for the hunt.

The online outrage over the killing soon saw the hashtag #CecilTheLion trending, while an online petition demanding justice for Cecil had drawn over 374 000 signatures.







Even a parody twitter account @RiverBlufDental was set up to mock Palmer:



Palmer's Twitter and Facebook accounts and website of his dental practice -- River Bluff Dental in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota -- were shut down Tuesday after being flooded with blistering attacks. However that did not stop users who soon took to leaving over 2000 scathing reviews on the dental practice's Google Page.

"The statement you issued was weak and you took no accountability for your disgusting actions! You essentially blamed your guide! COWARD!!!! You viciously took a beautiful creature from this you will be the one hunted!" one user wrote while another added, "Assasin and murderer! I hope you pay for your crimes! Pedazo de mierda! People like you have a special place in hell!#ftheog".

Those not satisfied with venting their fury on his Google Page soon found the dentist on Yelp where users posted reviews such as "Trash. Absolute garbage. I hope you lose your practice."

Palmer and Bronkhorst allegedly went out at night with a spotlight and tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil into range. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force charity claims that Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but didn't kill him.


"They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun. Cecil was skinned and beheaded. We don't know the whereabouts of the head," the charity alleged.

Palmer said he had "relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt".

"I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practise responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion," Palmer said in a statement.

"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."

Professional Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst and local landowner Honest Ndlovu appeared in court in Victoria Falls on Wednesday to face poaching charges.

- additional reporting by AFP

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now