Ward: Trending Topics: Palmer the Poacher back in the news


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Cecil the Lion at Hwange National Park.

Madison Ward

It’s been about two months since a Minnesota dentist shot and killed Cecil, a beloved lion of a Zimbabwean national park and the hunter, Walter Palmer, is in the news once again. 

One cannot simply kill a famous lion and expect to get away with it unscathed.

On July 1, Palmer along with a handful of so-called experienced guides set out to kill a lion for the thrill of it. 

They lured Cecil away from his sanctuary with an animal carcass strapped to a car. The goal was to get him into an unprotected area, so he would have nowhere to hide from his imminent death.

This detail is particularly important because Cecil was residing in a protected area that prohibits the killing of any animals. Palmer and his crew were clearly aware of this, which is why they lured him away. 

That being said, I have no idea how Palmer can claim he had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

“To my knowledge everything about the trip was legal and properly handled,” Palmer said in a public statement. 

Palmer needs to understand that he had to get this animal away from his sanctuary to kill him, meaning Cecil was a protected animal.

Palmer claims he did not know that Cecil was part of an ongoing study at Oxford University in an effort to try and understand why the African Lion population has been steadily declining. 

“I had no idea that the Lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until after the hunt,” Palmer said.

That may be true because even though Palmer clearly doesn’t understand that killing a lion for sport is borderline heinous, he was smart enough to not get close enough to realize that Cecil was in fact collared. 

But the intelligence ends there.

Once he shot Cecil, he should have recognized that Cecil was collared as part of a study. 

At the very least he should have realized that continuing with the dismembering of the body was over the line. 

The smart thing to do would have been to contact Oxford and let them know that he had majorly screwed up. 

But no, Palmer tried to erase the evidence by attempting to destroy the collar.

 He failed because the GPS fitted collar was discovered after the poaching of Cecil, according to The Zimbabwe Conservational Task Force.

Palmer, who takes a sick amount of pride in his ability to kill big game with a bow and arrow, shot Cecil but did not kill him. 

The animal wandered around for nearly two days while Palmer and his team tracked Cecil to ultimately shoot him with a gun. This was the fatal action.

To make an already tragic event even worse, Cecil was then decapitated, skinned and his corpse left to rot in the African sun.

This event in its entirety is infuriating, but it is finally bringing a very public light to the messed up events that lead to people killing big game in other countries. 

For example, big game hunting advocates argue that selling hunting permits for thousands of dollars will actually help endangered species because the permits themselves cost so much. 

In this specific case, Palmer paid about $54,000 for the opportunity to hunt down a lion.

It takes no rocket scientist to see how crazy of a notion that is. 

People are paying huge sums of money to kill big game to save the big game? 

I would like to know who was on what when they proposed that idea.

But now, several weeks later, Palmer is once again in the news because he is returning to his dental practice after spending time in hiding since mid-July for his wrongdoings. Palmer claims that he was not forced into hiding for his safety, but based on the protests and vandalism on his vacation home in Florida, the actual reason for his absence may still be under wraps.

As for legal repercussions, Palmer appears to be in the clear while his hunting helpers are potentially looking at 10 years in jail for illegal poaching. 

That being said, when charges are being handed out to those involved, we must keep in mind who actually fired the fatal shot. 

Palmer is in the wrong and should be charged as such.