Guide who led Cecil the lion hunt speaks; companies respond to uproar


The response to Cecil the lion's death continues to grow.

The Star Tribune spoke briefly with Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who admitted to killing the lion during a hunt. He told the paper "everything is fine," but didn't answer any more questions or say where he was.

Palmer, owner of River Bluffs Dental in Bloomington, claimed responsibility for Cecil’s killing last week, saying he “deeply regrets” his actions but thought everything about the hunt was legal.

His guide, Theo Bronkhorst, reiterated that Tuesday morning, telling NBC News he didn't do anything wrong. Last week he pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to prevent an unlawful killing. He's due back in court Wednesday.

Cecil’s death prompted international outrage, and the response forced Palmer to close his office – while essentially going into hiding.

Last week, Zimbabwe asked the U.S. for cooperation extraditing Palmer, so he could potentially face charges. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also investigating, and said a representative for Palmer had gotten in touch with them.

Airlines ban trophy animal shipments

Delta said Monday it would no longer allow customers to ship lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo carcasses as freight. (The airline allowed this before, as long as it was completely compliant with a country's hunting guidelines regarding protected species.)

Minneapolis-St. Paul Internationl Airport is Delta's third-largest hub.

American Airlines and United Airlines announced similar bans, the Guardian reports.

Delta, notes, is the only U.S. airline that has direct flight service to South Africa.

The site also says a petition asking Delta to take such a step was actually started back in May, before the killing of (and subsequent outrage over) Cecil the lion. The petition has more than 395,000 signatures.

One of the other companies taking some sort of action: Ty Inc.

USA Today reports the toy manufacturer is selling a special Cecil the lion Beanie Baby. Proceeds will go toward University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

CNBC reports on other companies responding, including Jimmy John's – which is feeling the heat over photos that appear to show the owner after hunting big game.

Mistaken identities

The frenzy doesn't stop at Dr. Walter Palmer – and others are paying the price.

Walter J. Palmer, an insurance agent in Minneapolis, told KARE 11 he's gotten abusive calls from people upset over Cecil's death – despite him not being the right Walter Palmer.

Then there's Dr. Mathew Palmer – a dentist in Wisconsin. He told NBC 15 in Madison he's gotten some threatening messages too, calls from across the country, even though his first name isn't the same.

"Just one state away," he told the station. "Pretty close, but not quite."

On Twitter, former NBA player Walter Palmer had to send out a tweet clarifying he's not the guy people are looking for, the San Jose Mercury news reports. Another Twitter user with the same name changed their profile to read "NOT the guy who killed the lion!!!"

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