Here is the face of the man suspected in Cecil's death is Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, according to Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Zimbabweans who helped him after $50,000 USD had been agreed, Honest Trymore Ndlovu and Theo Bronchorst, are due in court today, Wednesday, according to a statement from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. Bronchorst is a professional hunter, Rodrigues said Palmer was an American and gave his passport number and street address, but police were more vague. Charity Charamba, a Zimbabwe police spokeswoman, said police were seeking Palmer, "who might be an American or a Spaniard."
In a statement Tuesday, Palmer, who runs a dental practice, said he hired professional guides who secured proper permits.
"To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted," he said in the statement. 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... Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."
"They went hunting at night with a spotlight, and they spotted Cecil," Rodrigues said. "They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park, and they scented an area about half a kilometer from the park," or about 550 yards. Rodrigues said Palmer shot Cecil with an arrow but failed to kill him. Then the two men tracked Cecil, finding him about 40 hours later and shooting him to death with a gun,
They discovered that he had been fitted with a GPS collar and tried to destroy it, Rodrigues said.
Cecil was skinned and beheaded, Rodrigues said. Contrary to earlier reports, he said, the head has not been found.
"The saddest part of all is that, now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho will most likely kill all Cecil's cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females," Rodrigues said. "This is standard procedure for lions."