Minnesota dentist accused of killing iconic lion

Cecil the lion
Cecil the lion

Condemnation on social media and across the web was swift and voluminous after the UK’s Telegraph newspaper identified Bloomington dentist (and Eden Prairie resident) Walter Palmer as the killer of Cecil the lion “ – the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. … Conservation groups in Zimbabwe reacted angrily to the news that the 13-year-old animal had been killed: partly because the lion was known to visitors and seemingly enjoyed human contact, and partly because of the way in which he was killed. He was lured out of the national park and shot. … ‘He never bothered anybody,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. “He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.’ ”

The Star Tribune attempted to contact Palmer, and got back a a tepid response: “‘Obviously, some things are being misreported.’” Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean police would like to speak to him: “Emmanuel Fundira, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, confirmed later at a news conference that Palmer is the wanted hunter and his whereabouts were unknown. … Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said “we are looking for Palmer.” …Palmer’s dentist office on Rhode Island Avenue was closed Tuesday, apparently abruptly. One client showed up for his appointment unaware of the global turmoil surrounding his dentist. A note on the front referred visitors to a Minneapolis public relations firm. … Palmer and his wife live in Eden Prairie, about 2½ miles from his practice. A knock at the door Tuesday brought no response.

Palmer has a record of poaching. As Northland Outdoors reported in 2008, “A Minnesota dentist who who lied to federal authorities about where he shot a black bear was placed on probation for one year and fined $2,939 Tuesday in federal court. … Walter J. Palmer, 48, of Eden Prairie, Minn., was hunting black bear in northern Wisconsin in September 2006 when he received a call from one of his hunting guides who spotted a large bear track near Phillips. … Palmer wasn’t licensed to hunt bear in the zone established near Phillips but drove there with Trent C. Waggoner, 40, Minong. The bear was located and Palmer shot it with a bow and arrow, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Sinnott.”

After all that garbage, here’s a day brightener for you: “Sam Hesla has always wanted to protect and to serve, but it hasn’t always been easy; the 24-year-old has had to overcome a lifetime of obstacles,” writes Ellen Galles for KSTP. “ ‘I like helping people,’ Hesla said. ‘I want to take care of people. I want to risk my life to take care of others. I care more about other people than I care about myself.’ … Last month, Hesla was sworn in as a volunteer Minneapolis Reserve Officer. He is one of the first reserve officers in the country with Down syndrome.” Congratulations, Sam!

Rum and cigars for all! That’s if Rep. Tom Emmer gets his way. According to USA Today’s Alan Gomez, “Rep. Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost the Minnesota governor’s race in 2010 before winning a House seat in 2014, is scheduled to file the ‘Cuba Trade Act of 2015’ that removes the long-standing restrictions on American businesses from trading with Cuba and American citizens from travelling there. Emmer said he decided to pursue a full repeal of the embargo after a trip to Cuba in June, when he met with Cuban government officials and everyday citizens.”

Monday evening was a bad time for aviation in the area. In the Star Tribune, Paul Walsh reports: “The crashes of two small planes in or near Minnesota within a few hours has left seven people dead, authorities said. … The deadliest of the wrecks occurred about 5:20 p.m. Monday in Alden Township, Wis., about 50 miles northeast of Minneapolis, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Four people were killed when the single-engine plane crashed in a field north of 30th Avenue and east of 150th Street. …The second crash occurred shortly after 8 p.m. just south of Holland, Minn., or about 10 miles northeast of Pipestone, according to the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office.”

In other news…

What it takes to get a lake renamed in Minnesota. [Star Tribune]

Your daily Walker: When the Kochs call, you’d better answer. [Politico]

Maple Grove:Brothers hope books will help Muslim kids hang onto their identity” [MPR]

The Milwaukee lion saga continues. [New York Times]

Dorset’s former child mayor has endorsed his 3-year-old brother for the post. [Mankato Free Press]

Commercial fishing on Lake Pepin temporarily suspended. In other news, there’s commercial fishing on Lake Pepin. [KSTP]

Byron Smith appeal hearing scheduled. [St. Cloud Times]

Buzz about a new Rochester hockey team. [Post Bulletin]

Check out North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway. [Pollen]

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by John N. Finn on 07/28/2015 - 02:47 pm.

    B’wana Palmer

    “A note on the front referred visitors to a Minneapolis public relations firm. …”

    I would like to see followup reporting on the PR aspects of this. Salvaging his reputation and professional practice perhaps a more challenging undertaking than doing so that other social media phenomenon Joseph Kony.

  2. Submitted by John N. Finn on 07/28/2015 - 03:34 pm.

    Somewhat related

    Nothing in a quick Google search about the outcome of charges against that St. Cloud State professor for smuggling ivory and rino horns. A followup on that maybe?

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 07/28/2015 - 07:28 pm.

    The good dentist….

    should be recruited to take out some of the wolves that have become a nuisance to ranchers.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/29/2015 - 11:00 am.

      Wouldn’t work

      Wolves are far too docile for this guy’s tastes.

      Then again, he DID shoot a mostly tame lion . . . . . . .

  4. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 07/28/2015 - 08:18 pm.

    Congratulations to Sam Hesla

    It is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to something. Sadly, less than 90% of children who have Down’s Syndrome ever reach the point of being born. Congratulations to Sam’s parents too!

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