American dentist reportedly paid $55,000 to hunt and kill Cecil the lion

According to The Telegraph, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer paid $55,000 to hunt and kill Africa’s famous lion Cecil.

Cecil was a leading attraction of the national park in Hwange, Zimbabwe, until the 13-year-old lion suffered a grisly death at the hands of hunters earlier this month, according to a report by the Guardian.

Palmer paid local hunters $55,000 to help him lure Cecil outside of the protected park and then, after the group shot him with a bow and arrow and tracked him for almost two days, they shot him with a rifle. The hunters reportedly beheaded and skinned the lion as well.

“Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe but because now we have to give up for dead his six cubs, as a new male won’t allow them to live so as to encourage Cecil’s three females to mate,” head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force Johnny Rodrigues told the Guardian.

Rodrigues said that the hunter’s two Zimbabwean accomplices have been arrested.

When Cecil was killed he was wearing a GPS tracker placed there by an Oxford University research program.

The researchers found that 72 percent of the adult males they tagged for the project were killed by sport hunters, according to TIME.

The African lion population is shrinking due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and trophy hunting, among other causes. Where roughly one million lions roamed the earth a century ago, the global population today is closer to 30,000, according to conservation group Panthera.

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