MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that they have established contact with a representative the Minnesota dentist who killed a well-known lion.
Bloomington dentist Walter Palmer ignited a storm of controversy by killing the prized lion Cecil in Africa earlier this month. On Friday, the USFWS said that their investigation is ongoing, but that Palmer’s representative was being cooperative.
Zimbabwe’s wildlife minister announced Friday morning that the country is seeking extradition for Palmer. Despite repeated attempts, federal agents have been unable to speak with the trophy hunter.
Cecil was a research animal that lived mostly inside a protected national park in Zimbabwe. Palmer’s guide lured Cecil out onto private land where Palmer then shot it.
Zimbabwe authorities have charged his hunting guide, Theo Bronkhorst, for killing the lion without a quota permit and failing to prevent an illegal hunt.
On Thursday, Bronkhorst told The Telegraph of London several things went wrong with the hunt from the very beginning. Bronkhorst said Palmer’s luggage didn’t show up, which threw off their timing and they ended up hunting in an unplanned location close to a nature preserve.
Bronkhorst said Palmer shot the lion at night and they couldn’t see that it had a collar. When they realized it did the next morning they panicked.
Yet even after the lion hunt went bad, the guide said Palmer asked if he would find him an elephant to hunt.
When he learned they wouldn’t be able to find one, Palmer left the country.
While Bronkhorst faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Palmer has not been charged.
On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tweeted they want to speak to Palmer immediately and said they’ll follow where the facts lead.
However, legal experts WCCO spoke to said it’s doubtful Palmer will be charged.
He didn’t violate any U.S. laws since the lion’s head and cape were confiscated in Africa and never made it to the U.S.