Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is wanted in Zimbabwe on a poaching charge resulting from the death of Cecil the lion, according to a spokesman for the country’s police.
Palmer is accused of shooting Cecil with a crossbow, before pursuing the injured animal for 40 hours with his guides and killing him with a gun. The police confirmed the charge, according to Inquisitr.
Palmer’s current location is unknown, according to the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe.
Two Zimbabweans accused of involvement in the illegal killing, Theo Bronchorst and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, were released on bail of $1,000 Wednesday, CNN reported.
The lion was fitted with a GPS collar as part of research being conducted by Oxford University, and was a local tourist attraction.
The hunting party allegedly lured the lion out of the national park with a dead animal on the roof of a vehicle.
“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,” said Palmer in a statement on Tuesday. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
The public has reacted with outrage. CNN reported that the website for Palmer’s practice had been taken down, and he was receiving a large quantity of hate mail.
Celebrities also voiced their anger.
“I hope that #WalterPalmer loses his home, his practice & his money,” Sharon Osbourne tweeted. “He has already lost his soul.”
“He was not even killed outright, but suffered for hours before finally being shot with a bullet. . ... And this behavior is described as a 'sport,'” said Jane Goodall, as reported by CNN.
“Only one good thing comes out of this,” she added. “Thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature.
"Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live. Therein lies the hope.”