A big-game hunter from the U.S. is accused of killing a famous lion in Zimbabwe during a hunting expedition. Julie Noce reports.
A big-game hunter from Minnesota has been accused of killing Cecil, the famous 13-year-old lion from Zimbabwe. President of Zimbabwe's Safari Operators Association, Emanuel Fundira: (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAFARI OPERATORS ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT, EMANUEL FUNDIRA, SAYING: "Walter James Palmer is the guy who came into the country around the beginning of this month of July, and was enticed, we are not quite sure yet, to harvest this particular lion. The proper market value for this lion, which is a big treasure, will be around 100,000 U.S. dollars. Information so far received shows that there was money that was exchanged to the tune of 55,000 U.S. dollars." Conservation officials say Palmer paid two locals, a hunter and a private game park owner, to lure the lion out of a national park using a bait. Officials say Palmer wounded the lion with a bow and arrow. 40 hours later, officials say he killed the animal with a gun. Criticism for Palmer's actions has been widespread on social media with scores of people leaving angry and sometimes threatening comments on a Facebook page. Palmer said in a statement that he was unaware the animal was famous, and that he had hired professional guides who had secured permits for his hunting trip. Back in Minnesota, where Palmer is a dentist, a makeshift memorial has been erected in front of his office. The two men from Zimbabwe are due in court later Wednesday on poaching charges.