Walter Palmer, the pea-brained humanoid who forked over $55,000 (possibly in bribes) for the privilege of killing Cecil, a famed Zimbabwean lion, is really sorry for the “disruption” caused by all this media fuss.
An absolute hurricane of disgust has ripped through the Internet following news of Cecil’s death, leading to the abrupt shutdown of Palmer’s dental practice. According to The Guardian, “The practice was forced to close as protesters staged a recreation of the hunt involving cuddly toys and water pistols.”
Below is letter from Palmer to his patients, obtained by KMSP, which details his “passion” and “love” for hunting and apologizes for disruptions caused by the “media interest in this matter”:
“To my valued patients: As you may have already heard, I have been in the news over the last few days for reasons that have nothing to do with my profession or the care I provide for you. I want you to know of this situation and my involvement In addition to spending time with my family, one of my passions outside dentistry is hunting. I’ve been a life-long hunter since I was a child growing up in North Dakota. I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic. I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.
In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.
Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion. That was never my intention. The media interest in this matter – along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general – has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients. For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible. We are working to have patients with immediate needs referred to other dentists and will keep you informed of any additional developments. On behalf of all of us at River Bluff Dental, thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Walter J. Palmer, DDS River Bluff Dental”
Dr. Palmer’s leading statement is, of course, incorrect—what Palmer did in Zimbabwe has everything to do with his professional life in Bloomington, Minnesota. His dental practice is, ostensibly, funding a depraved and destructive lifestyle that his patients were most likely unaware of.
Furthermore, Palmer doesn’t appear to understand that the apparent illegality of his “taking” of the lion is not really what’s infuriating to the public. That’s why it made the news, of course, and the fact that Cecil was a protected, monitored lion lured out of a national park made this violent story that much worse, but the real problem is that he “took” the lion at all. This story snowballed because legal or illegal, the practice of killing lions (and rhinos, and leopards, etc.) for fun is incomprehensible to the majority of civilized society.
443,000 people have signed a petition so far calling on Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, to ban trophy hunting (not likely, considering Mugabe recently celebrated his 92nd birthday by eating a baby elephant). Some argue that the practice serves conservation purposes, keeping protected animals like Cecil from being illegally hunted; this story appears to disprove that theory.
The Oxford University researchers studying Cecil found that trophy hunting near the park had “an alarming impact on lion numbers and population structure within the park.” According to Jeff Flocken, the North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare,“There are much better ways to earn this kind of money—revenue from nature tourism, where the animal’s not killed, brings in three to 15 times what’s brought in from these trophy hunts in Africa.”
As few as 20,000 African lions remain in the wild, down from an estimated 450,000 in the 1940’s.
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Image via Associated Press.