Walter Palmer the hunter is now the hunted, with worldwide reprobation making him a social pariah and social-media threats driving him into hiding. And now a federal investigation into the Minnesota dentist who allegedly poached famed Cecil the Zimbabwean lion has been launched. Yet Planned Parenthood, revealed on video to have been selling the body parts of murdered babies, is receiving relatively little scrutiny.
While controlled trophy hunting is legal in Zimbabwe (more on that later), Palmer’s problems stem from the accusation that his hunt was illegal; the allegation is that he and his guides lured the lion out of his wildlife sanctuary, that the lion wasn’t “fair game.” Consequently, CBS Minnesota tells us, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will ‘go where facts lead.’ The agency made the announcement via Twitter Thursday.” The two men who served as Palmer’s hunting guides in Zimbabwe — Theo Bronkhorst of Bushman Safaris and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, who owns the game farm where the hunt occurred — have already appeared in court. Charged with conducting an illegal hunt, they face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
But what of Palmer’s culpability? On the one hand, Heavy.com’s Sam Prince reports:
The charity Lion Aid says on its website that it will be difficult to prosecute the person who paid for the hunt, because the client did what the professional hunter tells him to do.
“A client usually has no idea about the laws and regulations of the country he is hunting in — he just buys a safari and then places himself in the hands of his professional hunter guide. Finding the client could be interesting to let him tell his side of the story, but in terms of legal prosecution this person is hardly important,” Lion Aid says.