It is typical on any given day to get dozens of comments about the frustrating lack of news or progress with regards to Dr. Walter Palmer, the American dentist who slaughtered Cecil the Lion. We also live with this frustration. As such, we thought it would be helpful to share what we DO KNOW today about this saga.
A trial is scheduled to begin in Zimbabwe on September 28th. Palmer’s guide, Theo Bronkhorst has been charged with “failing to prevent an illegal hunt”. The trial has been postponed once at his lawyer’s request until the 28th.
The landowner on who’s “farm” Cecil was shot by Palmer, Honest Ndlovu, has been charged with allowing Cecil to be baited and lured onto his property. Ndlovu’s property borders Hwange National Park. He is scheduled to appear in court to answer these charges on September 18.
Dr. Palmer has not yet been charged with any crime, either in Zimbabwe or the U.S. While it has been reported that the Zimbabwean government asked U.S. officials to extradite Palmer to face charges, the necessary documents to commence a formal extradition request have not been submitted. Keep in mind, Palmer has not actually been charged with a crime.
We contacted both the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife. The State Department is the final decision maker over extradition matters and Fish & Wildlife is the agency that would charge Palmer if it were determined that he broke international laws relating to hunting.
Both departments offered the same response. They do not comment on ongoing investigations, suggesting that an investigation is possibly underway, and citing any citizen’s right to privacy in such matters.
It is most likely that no action will be taken in the U.S. until there is resolution in the cases in Zimbabwe, which we will monitor. The possible charge Palmer could face under U.S. law would be if he were found to have “bribed” someone, breaking a U.S. law, which applies to U.S. citizens overseas.
Palmer could be receiving some form of federal protection, given the numerous credible threats on his life in the aftermath of Cecil’s senseless slaughter. He is clearly in hiding. There are more rumors floating about (he had plastic surgery, he is with the Illuminati, he is back to hunting) than any real, confirmable information.
We promise that we will provide any valid updates as soon as we can confirm them, but Dr. Palmer for the time being is a free man in the legal sense, a hunted animal in the literal sense.
And while Palmer has been in hiding, this community working together has:
- Raised almost $10,000 for WildCru.
- Started receiving the T-shirts purchased on the www.cecilthelion.org website, which raised almost half of those funds;
- Launched a fundraising campaign to directly benefit the Friends of Hwange Trust (“FOH”) who care for the animals in the Park and ensure a constant water supply for them;
- Circulated, shared and signed dozens of petitions aimed at wildlife conservation and preservation;
- Helped force a face to face meeting with UPS demanding they cease shipping trophy hunting animals and parts (UPS already caved in and stopped shipping shark fins);
- Assisted in convincing many of the airlines to change their policy on carrying trophy hunting kills;
- Supported the to be voted upon Cecil Act in the U.S. Congress by contacting our elected officials;
- Put continued pressure on other businesses and corporations globally to give up their part in the trophy hunting industry;
- Participated in assisting multiple news organizations as they produced stories about Cecil, including ABC’s highly rated “20/20” broadcast “The Hunter and the Hunted”;
- Provided our video and photos to bloggers and writers to continue to raise awareness and funds;
- Been awarded both the cover and a 12 page photo/essay spread on “Cecil the Lion” in Wo’Goa’s August/September “Africa” issue. Wo’Goa is a very high end travel magazine with a subscription base of 250,000 very affluent readers;
- Developed a network of contacts in Zimbabwe to be able to provide ongoing updates and photos on Jericho and Cecil’s pride;
- Helped awake the world to the need to address hunting and wildlife conservation before we lose these beautiful animals;
- Created a global community which has worked to learn more about the issues and obstacles we face in addressing the economics of hunting and tourism in Zimbabwe and elsewhere;
- Created and shared some awesome tribute artwork;
- Created the “Selfies for Cecil” video showing that this is a global community of committed lion lovers and raising money through its viral broadcasting;
- Fended off dozens of trolls who don’t understand that we can indeed feel compassion for many issues while focusing on our outrage over Cecil’s killing; and
- Most importantly… Supported each other as we mourn, work to educate each other, lean on each other, motivate each other and unite each other. Firmly believing with absolute conviction that we will bring about change, no matter how big the obstacles or how many people tell us it will never happen. Trophy hunting will no longer be socially acceptable. And it will become more and more difficult for those who chose to kill animals for so called “sport” to do so. We will get there. Together. The world knows we are here.
So congratulations and “F… Palmer!” We have more work to do.