Local big game hunter says Palmer gives others a bad name

Zimbabwe investigators are still trying to find out whether Minneapolis dentist Walter Palmer poached a lion he is accused of killing and skinning.

In this frame grab taken from a November 2012 video made available by Paula French, a well-known, protected lion known as Cecil strolls around in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean police said Tuesday, July 28, 2015 they are searching for Walter James Palmer, an American who allegedly shot Cecil with a crossbow while on a big game hunt in a killing that has outraged conservationists and others. (Paula French via AP)

It is alleged he and his guides lured Cecil the lion from a game reserve, wounded him with a crossbow, then tracked him for 40 hours before killing him.

Closer to home, social media outrage continues to build over the killing of the lion.

NBC4 spoke with a member of the same big game club that Palmer belongs to.

“99.9 % of bow hunters are ethical people. Then you have one-tenth of one percent who give us a black eye,” said Ron Riel, with the Pope and Young Club.

None of this sits well with Riel.

The Columbus Zoo has three African lions. But worldwide, their curator said those number are rapidly declining.

“The lion population is decreasing with more than 80 percent of the world’s lions killed over the last thirty years,” said Curator Adam Felts.lion 1

“A lot of that is due to that human population growth, that human lion conflict and the loss of habitat,” he said.

He said poaching is also a big culprit.

Riel said he is waiting to hear what the investigation shows. “But if he did what they said and is found guilty of it, then he is going to have to suffer the consequences of that,” he said.

Felts said there is something positive coming out of the death of Cecil the Lion.

“I think the fact that the local community knew this lion tells us conservation is working in those local communities,” he said.

He said community involvement and tourism are two of the best ways to help turn around the decline in the number of lions.

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