U.S. wildlife authorities announced an investigation Thursday into the killing of Cecil, a prized lion in Zimbabwe, and also revealed that they have been unable to contact Dr. Walter Palmer, the Minnesota big-game hunter and dentist who participated in the fatal hunt.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reached Palmer by telephone Wednesday and requested an interview. He said, “I’m meeting with my team,” and declined to say more. Palmer did not answer his phone Thursday morning.
Palmer, 55, of Eden Prairie, shot and wounded the lion with a bow and arrow on July 1. For a price of more than $50,000, Palmer was accompanied by a guide and another person, both of whom have been implicated in the kill by law enforcement in Zimbabwe. After tracking led them to Cecil about 40 hours later, the hunting party finished the lion off with a gunshot.
Earlier this week, Palmer issued a statement saying he did not know that the lion that was killed was a protected animal living on a reserve and was part of a research study.