The death of Cecil, the black-maned lion killed by an American big-game hunter in Zimbabwe, has outraged many across the globe. The hunter, Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, has been forced into hiding.

The 13-year-old lion was a star attraction at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe where he wore a collar by which scientists at the University of Oxford had been tracking him since 2008. The hunters lured him out of the park with a carcass tied to the bumper of a vehicle and he was shot with a cross bow. The lion was then stalked for 40 hours before he was shot and his head and hide taken as trophies.

Walter Palmer paid local guides $50,000 for the hunt and released a statement that he did not know the hunt was illegal until it was over and the collar was removed. Palmer said he trusted his guides had obtained the proper permits for the hunt. The guides face fines and possible jail time for alleged poaching and not acquiring the proper permits.

In Zimbabwe, the illegal killing of a lion is punishable by a fine of $20,000 and up to a decade behind bars, and Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister said Friday that officials would appeal for the extradition of Palmer, who has since returned to the U.S. Palmer has been met with a wave of condemnation. Nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition on the WhiteHouse.gov website to have the dentist extradited.

Many have set up a makeshift memorial outside Dr. Walter Palmer’s office while his Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews-mostly voicing outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion.

Given the international outrage that the case has stirred, the alleged poachers will likely face criminal charges, but it’s the controversial policy of selling permits to big-game trophy hunters that really ought to be on trial. Between 1999 and 2009, 800 lions were killed in legal hunts in the country, on top of what was likely an even greater number that were killed illegally.

Zimbabwe is thought to have between 500 and 1,680 lions remaining, about 80% of which live in protected areas. The country has the highest proportion of lions that can be legally hunted, along with Tanzania, which is home to 40% of Africa’s lions.

Across the continent, lion numbers have plummeted by more than 80% over the past century, from 200,000 to less than 30,000. In 2013, 49 legal lion trophies were exported from Zimbabwe, out of about 665 such trophies that come from Africa each year.

The death of Cecil the lion has brought attention to the fact that big game trophy hunting of exotic animals is an industry in Africa. Many well-to-do hunters that can afford these price tags do take part in these hunts. If the guides hired by Walter Palmer had obtained the proper permits and lured an unprotected lion for the hunt, no one would be the wiser.

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