It seems like everyone is in a tizzy over the killing of Cecil, a lion that happened to be one of the main tourist attractions of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who payed for the hunt, is in hot water for slaying the big cat. Apparently, Cecil was a protected animal and the guides who orchestrated the hunt for Palmer broke the law and were subsequently arrested for poaching.
Palmer, who allegedly paid upwards of $50,000 for the hunt, claims he was ignorant to the status of Cecil.
“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,” Palmer said in a statement issued Tuesday. “I 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 practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer said.
Palmer hunted the lion with his compound bow. However, his first shot wasn’t lethal and the two Zimbabwean guides had to track the animal for 40 hours before killing it with a gun, according to reports. The lion was then beheaded and skinned.
The death of Cecil went viral and put Palmer in the eye of the storm. Soon, celebrities began weighing in on social media:
It's not for food. It's not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental. https://t.co/0fjtXoC1ML
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 28, 2015
…When he dies, I hope someone mounts his ugly ass head to the wall. #WalterPalmer is a COWARD.
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) July 28, 2015
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) July 28, 2015
Used to hate my dentist for yelling at me about my night guard but at least she didn't kill #CecilTheLion
— Jerry O'Connell (@MrJerryOC) July 28, 2015
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) July 28, 2015
At this point it’s not clear as to whether Palmer will face charges for killing the lion.