Cecil the lion, a local favourite and tourist attraction, was killed by Walter Palmer, a US dentist, who is described as a life long hunter.
Palmer has gone into hiding since The Telegraph revealed on Tuesday that he had killed the adored lion with a bow and arrow after paying $50,000 (£35,000) to do so.
It is believed that Cecil was shot on the 1st July but his carcass was not discovered until 40 hours later when he was shot dead with a gun.
According to local charity Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) the lion was later skinned and beheaded.
Cecil was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve in Hwange National Park and experts have tragically predicted that Cecil’s six cubs are likely to be killed by the male lion who takes over the pride.
There has been global outrage over Cecil’s shooting. Around 100 protestors being held outside Palmer’s dentist surgery on Wednesday with one sign saying “let the hunter be the hunted”, and #CeciltheLion is now trending on Twitter.
Cecil, 13 years old, has sparked a massive reaction on Change.org, which has received at least half a dozen petitions on Wednesday from appealing for Palmer’s extradition to pleading with Obama to create laws to protect big game animals from being hunted.
The protest was organised by two women from Minneapolis Animal Rights Coalition to raise awareness about animal cruelty, but the Twitter movement has allowed for the global opinions, mainly of disgust, to be voiced.
Two Zimbabweans have been granted bail following Cecil’s killing, but Palmer who shot the arrow does not currently face any charges and has gone into hiding.
Palmer’s well-documented love of hunting is evident with his photographs where he is proudly posing next to animals such as elephants, a polar bear, a rhino, a leopard, and another lion to name a few, and has told The New York Times that he began shooting at the young age of five.
Palmer has stated that he “deeply regrets” killing Cecil and reassures that “to my knowledge everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted”, promising that he “had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”
On the other hand, Nugent, a hunter and gun activist, defends Palmer’s actions, openly calling people who are upset over its death “stupid” and believes that killing big game, such as Cecil, is “essential” to control the environment and avoid it being overpopulated with deadly creatures.
Legal experts believe it to be unlikely that Palmer will be brought before a judge in Zimbabwe.
Although poaching is a serious crime in Africa, it is a less serious issue in the US.