Zimbabwean authorities say that a Minnesota dentist is responsible for slaying one of the country's most beloved lions.
On Tuesday, The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a statement that Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minn., paid at least $50,000 to track and kill the animal.
The conservation group and Zimbabwean authorities said that Palmer ultimately killed, Cecil, a protected lion and one of the most famous animals at the Hwange National Park. Cecil was fitted with a GPS collar and tracked by the Oxford Universityresearch program, according to a statement from Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
On Tuesday, Palmer said in a statement, "I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt," CBS reported.
"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," Palmer said, according to CBS. "I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."
He added, according to the statement, that he had not been contacted by authorities but would work with them.