The American hunter who shot dead Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe also wanted to kill a large elephant, according to his guide.
Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, has gone into hiding amid international outrage over the killing of Cecil, a well-known animal who had been studied by researchers for years.
The guide, The Bronkhorst, who is being prosecuted over the killing in Zimbabwe, told The Daily Telegraph that he and Mr Palmer had been “devastated” when they saw Cecil’s tracking collar and realised he was a protected animal.
However, they then skinned and beheaded him so Dr Palmer, who had paid £35,000 for a permit, could have a trophy of the kill.
Dr Palmer later asked “if we would find him an elephant [with one tusk] larger than 63 pounds, which is a very large elephant”, Mr Bronkhorst claimed.
“But I told him I would not be able to find one so big, so the client left the next day and went to Bulawayo for the night and then flew out midday the following day,” he added.
Mr Bronkhorst gave a detailed account of the hunt that ended in Cecil’s death.
“We set off quite late, with the sun down, and found the carcass of an elephant which we dragged and moved into the long grass and used for bait,” he said.
The most controversial animal kills
The most controversial animal kills
1/6 Cincinnati Zoo worker shots and kills Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla
Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The incident was recorded on video and received broad international coverage and commentary, including controversy over the choice to kill Harambe. A number of primatologists and conservationists wrote later that the zoo had no other choice under the circumstances, and that it highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2/6 Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion (pictured here with another lion shot in Africa)
Walter James Palmer has been named by Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force as the shooter of Cecil, a 13-year-old prized lion. He is now wanted by Zimbabwe officials on poaching charges. The lion was protected and the subject of a decade long study by the Wildlife Unit of Oxford University in the UK. He was outfitted with a GPS collar and was killed in Hwange National Park. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association said that two men were charged with poaching in connection to Mr Palmer
3/6 Kendall Jones hunting images
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texas Tech university student, has provoked worldwide fury after posting pictures of herself smiling next to animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus
4/6 Rebecca Francis hunting images
Rebecca Francis, a huntress who has killed dozens of wild animals has been sent death wishes by furious social media users after a picture showing her lying down next to a dead giraffe was circulated. Rebecca Francis has a website and Facebook page dedicated to the animals she has killed in hunts across Africa and America. Francis, a prolific hunter who has also co-hosted the television show Eye of the Hunter, regularly posts pictures of herself posing next to dead bears, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras, among other animals. She uses a bow and arrow to kill her prey
5/6 The slaughter of Marius, an 18-month-old healthy giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo
Copenhagen Zoo made the controversial decision to euthanise a healthy giraffe named Marius, which was later dissected and fed to lions as visitors watched. The slaughter sparked a furious backlash from social media users and zoo staff have received death threats by phone and email. Soon after the incident, Copenhagen Zoo faced an international outcry once again after four healthy lions were put down
6/6 Swiss Dählhölzli zoo kills healthy brown bear cub
A Switzerland zoo faced heavy criticism from animal rights groups, after keepers put down a healthy brown bear cub to spare it from being bullied by its dominant male father. The 360 kg male bear Misha had already killed one of his 11-week old cubs in public and was bullying the second, staff at the zoo said, because he was jealous of the attention the cubs were receiving from their mother, Masha. Both adult brown bears had been donated to Bern’s Dählhölzli zoo in 2009. Campaigners condemned staff there for not separating the cubs, who are being referred to as Baby Bear Two and Baby Bear Three, and their mother from Misha after their birth in January
“We then established the ‘tree blind’ [a hide]. Once we were established, and it was quiet, we first saw a lioness go past. And then a huge male – Cecil – came into view behind her. He was a magnificent animal.
“The client then fired using a bow and arrow and it went away into the long grass. This was about 10pm.”
The hunting party then went home for the night and returning to look for Cecil the following morning.
“I was worried about the lion and what had happened,” said Mr Bronkhorst. “We got there about 9am, and we found it and it was wounded, and the client then shot it, with his bow and arrow, and killed it.”
They then realised that Cecil was wearing a collar. “I was devastated,” said Mr Bronkhorst. “I could not have seen the collar at night. We would never shoot a collared animal. I was devastated, and so was the client, we were both upset, and I panicked and took it off and put it in a tree.
“I should have taken it to [the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority], I admit that. So we did what had to be done. We took the head and skin, as the client had paid for the trophy.”Reuse content