Minnesota dentist who killed Zimbabwe lion draws threats, protests

Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:54pm EDT
 
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By David Bailey

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Police in Minnesota are investigating reports of a threat against a dentist who killed Zimbabwe's most famous lion just outside a national wildlife preserve, sparking a global firestorm of hate messages on social media.

Demonstrators were gathering on Wednesday afternoon outside the suburban Minneapolis office of Walter Palmer, 55, an avid big game hunter, who said in a statement he regrets killing the huge cat known as Cecil on July 1. He said he had hired professional local guides who secured hunting permits and

believed the hunt was legal.

As of Tuesday, Palmer had temporarily closed his office, River Bluff Dental, in Bloomington, Minnesota, amid wishes for his death and widespread criticism of his hunting on social media and under business reviews on Google and Yelp.

Cecil, a distinctive black-maned lion, was lured out of Hwange National Park using a bait and was wounded with a bow and arrow, and not shot dead until 40 hours later.

Bloomington Police have stepped up patrols around the office are investigating a phoned-in threat, Deputy Chief Mike Hartley said.

"A terroristic threats report related to this incident was taken by our police department yesterday and will be investigated like any other similar offense report," Hartley said in an email.

The Minneapolis-based Animal Rights Coalition said a protest was planned on Wednesday at the office, where a small memorial of stuffed animals was placed at the building entrance.   Continued...

 
Piper Hoppe, 10, from Minnetonka, Minnesota, holds a sign at the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in protest against the killing of a famous lion in Zimbabwe, in Bloomington, Minnesota July 29, 2015. A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday charged a professional local hunter Theo Bronkhorst with failing to prevent an American from unlawfully killing 'Cecil', the southern African country's best-known lion. The American, Walter James Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who paid $50,000 to kill the lion, has left Zimbabwe. He says he did kill the animal but believed the hunt was legal and that the necessary permits had been issued. REUTERS/Eric Miller