Cecil the lion was one of the most popular attractions at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park – until he was killed by Walter Palmer, a dentist from the U.S. who paid $55,000 for the “pleasure” to kill the 13-year-old wildlife celebrity. The backlash from animal lovers around the world has been so strong that the dentist’s website has shut down and his office is shuttered.
Palmer, a trophied archer, paid a guide to lure Cecil out of the park at night so he could be hunted. He shot and wounded Cecil with a bow, but was only able to kill him 40 hours later. Cecil was beheaded and skinned – his carcass remained unused.
Not only did his hunt kill a local celebrity at the park, but, according to the Zimbabwean Tourism Authority, the hunt was illegal, and a criminal investigation is currently under way. Cecil’s death will affect more than just him and his fans. Now that Cecil is gone, other male lions will probably kill off the 24 cubs that he had left with his pride to ensure that their own bloodlines live on instead.