Earlier this month, one of Africa’s most famous (and protected) lions, Cecil, was lured from his home in Zimbabwe's Hwange national park by a group of big game hunters. Cecil the Lion was then shot with a crossbow, left for 40 hours to suffer, then hunters came back and shot him to finish the hunt.
What's worse, Cecil was killed by a man who paid $50,000 for the "adventure." The 13-year-old lion was then found on outside the park, headless and skinned.
On July 28, Zimbabwe officials announced that they were looking for the man for who they believed is the hunter, identified as Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota. The Internet took notice. Big time.
Digital do-gooders from all over are out for revenge, attacking Palmer's River Bluff Dental's Yelp page, it's Facebook page (which has since been taken down), and there's even an online petition to get Zimbabwe officials to stop giving out permits to hunt endangered animals and two calling for Palmer to face prosecution, one from Change.org and one from WhiteHouse.gov.
Here are a few excerpts from the Yelp! page, some of which Yelp is actually taking down. Note that they are giving the dentist 5-star reviews so they appear at the top of the results pages.
On Yelp, Branden M. posted:
"This guy is awesome. Hard working American, spending hard earned money on his passion for hunting big game with a bow! Not a high powered rifle from 1000 yards away. A bow! Outstanding sir! I only wish I could shake your hand."
Mike B. posted:
"Of course this will be deleted. Sooner or later Dr. Sicko Killer, the people are going to figure out that there is an ethics clause connected to your license. Then you are DONE."
Christine N. posted:
"Here's what I look for in a healthcare professional: a disgusting and thorough lack of compassion, sociopathic tendencies, a vile propensity for torture of the innocent, a bombastic self-importance, a demented and narcissistic sense of fun, a self-serving and egocentric disposition, a knack for betraying others' trust, a history of lying to officials, a criminal record, and most of all a smug mug. I found all that in Dr. Walter Palmer at River Bluff Dental!
"I don't give many 5-star reviews, so you know that Dr. Palmer really fits the bill! With Dr. Palmer at his best, your soul will be black, your hands will be bloody, your head will spin, your stomach will turn, and your heart will hurt, but hell if your teeth won't be white!!!!
"The main con with Dr. Palmer is that he doesn't have any balls, but he more than compensates for it with his BIG bow and arrow. Pssssshhh. In case there's any doubt, he will be happy to prove it by illegally slaying "mature, magnificent" creatures who are beloved and protected. And when he needs reinforcements, he doesn't hesitate to bribe the right people to back him up. Highly recommended!"
Tom K. posted:
"Walter Palmer was (allegedly) Jeffrey Dahmer's favorite dentist! If you love blood, if you love gruesome killings of innocent animals for sport, you'll love Walter Palmer!"
Taking all this heat, Palmer sent a message to his clients explaining his side of the story and apologizing for having to close his business until this all blows over. Here's Palmer's response, shared on Facebook via third party.
Tom Lyden posted:
"In letter to patients, Dr. Palmer of Cecil the Lion infamy, says:
'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.'
He goes on to say:
'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.' "
And now, according to local reporter Paul Blume's Twitter account, the area near Palmer's dental office is closed ahead of a planned protest.
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) July 29, 2015
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) July 29, 2015
"And now police have shut down street block around Dr. Walt Palmer dental office in advance of #CecilTheLion protest"
"Dental office of Walt Palmer has turned into quite the scene. #CeciltheLion artist, protests & police. Oh my!"