The Minnesota dentist who illegally shot Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe has been placed under police protection amid the continued outcry against him, the gossip site TMZ reported Thursday.
Dr. Walter Palmer, who runs a practice in Eden Prairie, didn’t request protection, but the number of threats against him are so numerous that police decided to make regular check-ups on him. Some activists, including the animal rights organization PETA, have called for Palmer to be extradited and hanged.
Police are in a delicate situation, because while they need to protect Palmer, protesters also have the right to demonstrate against Palmer’s actions, and the dentist’s office (currently closed) has been absolutely blanketed with a mixture of stuffed animals and menacing signs bearing phrases such as “Rot In Hell.”
The outrage at Palmer has been almost continuous since news emerged that he paid $50,000 to travel to Zimbabwe, where two guides lured the popular lion Cecil out of a nature preserve so that Palmer could shoot him with a crossbow. After the crossbow failed to kill the lion, he was stalked for another 40 hours before being finished off with a rifle. Following the kill, Palmer skinned Cecil and cut his head off as a trophy.
Officials also contend that the hunt’s guides then tried to destroy the tracking collar scientists had used to tag Cecil.
Palmer has claimed that he believed everything about his hunt was legal, but since the controversy broke it has emerged that he previously pleaded guilty to illegally killing a black bear.
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