Cecil the Lion's Death

Cecil the Lion's Death

Part of a series on Hacktivism / Internet Vigilantism. [View Related Entries]

Updated Oct 13, 2015 at 03:22PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jul 28, 2015 at 08:23PM EDT by Brad.

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Cecil the Lion was a 13-year-old celebrity black-maned lion who was fatally shot by Walter James Palmer, an American dentist and hunter from Bloomington, Minnesota, at the Hwange national park on July 1st, 2015.


On July 1st, 2015, the treasured lion of Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park was found dead on the outskirts of the habitat, skinned and beheaded after being fatally wounded by a hunter with an arrow and rifle bullet. The news of Cecil's gruesome death was met with public outrage in Zimbabwe and the international conservation communities overseas, as the lion was well-known for his natural flair in human interactions. In the ensuing investigation by the Zimbabwean officials, two men were charged with poaching, Theo Bronkhorst and Bushmen Safaris, the owners of the bordering properties where the lion was killed.

Notable Developments

Hunter's Identity

On July 27th, The Telegraph published an exclusive report identifying Cecil's killer as Walter James Palmer, an American dentist and avid hunter from Bloomington, Minnesota, citing two independent sources and a copy of Palmer's hunting permit. According to the article, Palmer reportedly paid the local guides $55,000 (£35,000) to lure Cecil half a mile outside of the national park using bait for an opportunity to hunt him with a bow and arrow. When he failed to pin down the famous lion with the arrow, Palmer and his guides then tracked him for nearly 48 hours before locating and killing the wounded animal.

Online Reaction

On April 28th, the hashtag #CecilTheLion rose to the top of the trending topics list on Twitter in the United States; according to Topsy Analytics[9], #CecilTheLion was mentioned over 127,000 times within the first 24 hours. In addition, many took their rage to the alleged hunter's Yelp page for his dentistry practice[10] by downvoting his ratings and flooding the image gallery with shock media.

Walter J Palmer, DDS Write a Review Add Photo Share A Bookmark 擦書擦圏1510 reviews | 111 Details | General Dentistry AXIDERMYTSUPPUR W O opee Rd w 109th St Google 10851 Rhode Island Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55438 Get Directions Map data C015 Google Edit (952) 884-5361 㔾riverbluffdental.com WALTER J PALMER CECIL KILLER Walter J Palmer, DDS Minneapolis, MN, United States Find tacos, cheap dinner, Max's Near address, neighborhood, city, state or zip Q Sign Up Home About Me Write a Review Find Friends Messages Talk Events Log In Walter J Palmer, DDS Photos 34 photos for Walter J Palmer, DDS Add photos F--- YOU YELP Delete this and you can.*- cECIL KILLER WALTER I.PALMER Again NOW THAT Rayann B MOVED TO FIVE STARS so SO THIS DOESN'T GET merican Dental Assocation Prinoiples of Eics and IVER DENTA Soulless, cruel, POS ofr,Take It down again. IP'I a person Dr Walter DDS on put it back up, the Anti-M----------- Cross I saw that. -G YOURSELF WALTER I PALMER SURPRISE! 0 What comes around This is Walter's ldea of a good time Hey Walter, Timmy gives you one brown... Dr. Palmer's hyglenist is not Impressed. HOWD THE DENTIST Hey mr. Stud dentist...let's see This is what you are funding tt you... Walter is honest aboutM YOUR DENTIS his practice And i get otf tron


In addition, there are at least two online petitions seeking justice and reprimand in the wake of the news, including one petition submitted to the White House's We The People[11] platform demanding the extradition of U.S. citizen Walter James Palmer to be tried in the criminal justice system in Zimbabwe and another campaign on Care2Petition[12] requesting Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe to stop issuing hunting permits to kill endangered animals.

be WHITE HOUSE PR ESEDENT ARACK OA C Get Email Updates BLOG PHOTOS& VIDEO BRIEFING ROOM ISSUESADMINISTRATION ahe WIITE HOUSE our Go PEOPLEYOURYOICEN OUR GOVERNMENT CREATE A PETITION OPEN PETITIONS RESPONSES HOW & WHY WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Extradite Walter Palmer to face justice in Zimbabwe. YOU WILL BE MISSED CECIL ROAR DEMAND JUSTICE FOR CECIL THE LION IN ZIMBABWE author: Ruth McD target: Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe signatures: 509,410 509,410 800,000 we've got 509,410 signatures, help us get to 800,000

Palmer's Statement

In response to the growing public outcry regarding the death of Cecil, Palmer issued a statement claiming ignorance about the lion's identity and arguing that he had hired professional guides who assured him the hunt was legal.

Celebrity Reactions

On July 29th, Jimmy Kimmel discussed Cecil's death during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, during which he became noticeably distraught at the end of the segment (shown below). In the first 72 hours, the video gained over 6.7 million views and 13,300 comments.

On the following day, the Associated Press[13] published an interview with actress Betty White, who expressed sorrow for the lion's death and criticized Palmer for killing the animal.

"It's such a heartbreaker. You can't even talk about it, and to see this king of the jungle and personifying it in every way, this gorgeous creature. How can somebody do that?"

Zimbabwe's Official Response

On July 31st, Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri stated that she has filed a request to have Palmer extradited from the United States to stand trial for the killing of Cecil.

"The illegal killing was deliberate. We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal actions."

On October 12th, Muchinguri told reporters that the Zimbabwean government would stop pursuing the extradition of Palmer and clear him of wrongdoings, as his travel documents turned out to be in compliance with the country's hunting laws. Muchinguri further stated that the government would review how it issues hunting licenses in the wake of the incident.

"We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that [Walter] Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order."

The announcement was immediately met with criticism from the country's animal conservation group Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which told Reuters that it still plans to pursue legal action against Palmer in the United States.

"The fact is the law was broken. We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him."

Transportation Bans

On August 3rd, 2015, Delta Airlines[15] announced they would no longer ship lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos or buffalo as freight. The same day, the official American Airlines Twitter[16] feed posted an announcement that the company had banned the transport of the same animals, garnering upwards of 2,900 favorites and 2,500 retweets (shown below).

American Airlines @AmericanAir Follow Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies. 10:50 PM 3 Aug 2015 4 t3 2,508 ★ 2,958

On the following day, The Washington Post[17] reported that a spokeswoman at United Airlines revealed the company would no longer be shipping the five species. Additionally, the article revealed the United Parcel Service would continue to ship the trophy animals, claiming the the company prefers to "avoid making judgments on the appropriateness of the contents." On August 7th, a petition was created on Change.org[18] titled "End the Transport of Hunting Trophies," which received upwards of 51,000 signatures in the first week.

End the Transport of Hunting Trophies Katelyn Boronkay Centreville, VA Sign this petition 98,384 supporters 51.616 needed to reach 150,000 David Cicconne signed this petition First name Last name Email Endangered and threatened animals from around the world, including rhinos, elephants, and lions, like Cecil, are being hunted and killed for fun. While Delta Airlines. American Airlines, and other multinational companies have taken a stand to ban the transport of hunting trophies, the heads and bodies of animals used for taxidermy, FedEx still allows for hunting trophies of exotic animals to be shipped around the world. Please sign my petition asking FedEx to stop supporting the destruction of endangered wildlife by banning the shipment of hunting trophies. United States Street address Zip code I'm signing because (optional) f Share with Facebook friends Sign

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