On July 1, 2015, animal conservationists and celebrities joined together in a public outcry after the death of Cecil the Lion, who was shot and killed by Walter Palmer, an American recreational hunter. At the time, the male African lion was a major attraction of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, as well as a subject of study for Oxford University.
Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for his killer. The agency, whose mission is to conserve and protect fish, wildlife and plants, has already come knocking on his door. However, Palmer, who illegally killed Cecil the Lion, is no where to be found.
Repercussions for the Murder of Cecil the Lion
According to Ed Grace, the chief of law enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, many attempts have already been made in an effort to get into contact with the recreational hunter. If he is found, Palmer, a dentist hailing from Minnesota, will face the consequences of his action. According to Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, in a news conference on Friday, “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal action.”
At this time, U.S. officials have not received an official request for the extradition. Following the killing, Palmer had already fled back to the United States, before Zimbabwe government officials had realized what happened to Cecil the lion. Since Tuesday, he has fallen off the radar, but has previously stated that he “deeply regret[s]” the killing, and that the unfortunate incident was the result of his reliance on local guides, which lead him to believe that the hunt was legal. At that time, he had not been contacted by authorities, but agreed to assist them with any inquiries about they may have about the killing.
A White House petition has also requested that Palmer be extradited. In order to get a response from the Obama administration, the document need to receive 100,000 signatures by August 27, 2015. Since its release, however, it has received nearly double the amount of signatures – 170,000 in total – by Friday morning.