International appetite for the Cecil story is still high but many locals just don’t share the outrage.

HARARE – It’s been suggested that Cecil the lion has been the biggest international news story to come out of Zimbabwe since the elections in 2008.

International appetite for the Cecil story is still high but many locals just don’t share the outrage.

The ‘Cecil the lion’ story broke in South Africa just over two weeks ago but it took until this week for global attention and outrage to really pick up.

That was partly when the hunter who killed Cecil was finally identified as a US dentist, Walter Palmer, after previous reports had speculated he was Spanish.

Many Zimbabweans have been left feeling bemused and irritated by the international media frenzy over the story, which isn’t being matched inside Zimbabwe.

Well-known journalist Fungai Machirori says on the ‘Voices of Africa’ blog that it is ironic that the world is diligently following Zimbabwe’s wildlife with no thought or concern for its people.

She says that the outrage over Cecil plays into the stereotype that Africa is all about poverty or wildlife stories.

Palmer is said to have paid $54,000 to hunt and kill the animal.

‘AT LEAST TWO LIONS SHOT FOR CANNED HUNTING IN SA EVERY DAY’

As outcry over the death of the Cecil the lion continues to dominate social media, experts in canned hunting in South Africa say at least two lions are shot for canned hunting a day in South Africa.

Canned hunting has been criticised as a fast-growing but brutal industry in South Africa.

Specialist consultant on the Blood Lions documentary Ian Michler says the quickest way to make money in the industry is to breed lions for the kill.

“Today we have a situation where there are anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000 large predators, on about 200 farms across South Africa. They are offering about 1,000 lions to be killed annually in this country.”

He says people will pay up to $48,000 to kill of a lion like Cecil in South Africa.

“Prices range from $5,400 for lioness up to $48,000 for a big, black male lion.”

PALMER APOLOGISES TO HIS PATIENTS

Reports say the US dentist who killed Cecil the lion has written to his patients to apologise.

Walter Palmer said in a letter that he had not discussed his passion for hunting with patients because he knew the issue was divisive.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper is quoting a radio station in Minnesota where Palmer is from.

He said he hadn’t been able to see his patients because of the media interest in the story and he’s having to have them referred to other practices.

PALMER IS IN HIDING

The American dentist at the centre of a global controversy has gone underground in the onslaught of criticism he’s faced over his killing of Cecil.

Palmer received a barrage of condemnation after he shot the animal during what officials allege was an illegal trophy-hunt in Zimbabwe.

Online reviews continue to trash Palmer’s dentist practice, the pile of stuffed animals outside it grows and its website is no longer available.

In an email to his patients, Palmer said that under current conditions it was no longer possible to keep his office open.

Media outlets that have tried to find him have had no luck as the man who said he enjoyed being a hunter now seems to be the hunted.