Safari Club International is suspending the membership of the Minnesota hunter accused of illegally killing a protected lion in Zimbabwe and wants a “full and thorough investigation” into the lion’s death.
The club, which promotes big-game hunting worldwide, issued a statement late Wednesday saying memberships for Walter Palmer, and his guide in Zimbabwe, Theo Bronkhorst, will be on hiatus until investigations are complete.
Bronkhorst is facing criminal charges in Zimbabwe over the July 1 killing of the beloved lion named Cecil, who was drawn away from a wildlife preserve and shot by Palmer with a bow and arrow. Palmer has said he believed the hunt was legal.
The Safari Club says “those who intentionally take wildlife illegally should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by law.
When news broke that a beloved Zimbabwe lion had been killed, beheaded and skinned allegedly for sport at the hands of palmer, outrage poured in from around the world. Celebrities, activist groups and the general public were up in a roar over the death of the lion called Cecil.
A seasoned big game hunter, Palmer would travel the world in pursuit of animal trophies. On Tuesday, Palmer released a statement saying that to his knowledge, “everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.”
Palmer hasn’t been seen since the uproar reached the U.S., but Wednesday, protestors made sure their voices were heard.
“Extradite Palmer! Extradite Palmer!” the angry protestors chanted.
A day after Palmer was accused of killing Cecil, demonstrators didn’t leave any doubt about what they thought of their hometown dentist.
Bloomington residents also turned up in front of his office — now closed.
“He killed Cecil just because he wanted some skin and a head? That’s unreasonable,” said a 10-year-old protestor.