People around the world are speaking out about the death of Cecil the Lion, who was shot and killed by an American hunter earlier this month.
Zimbabwe’s most famous lion was found skinned and decapitated outside a national park on the outskirts of Hwange after Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, reportedly paid $50,000 to shoot him with a crossbow and rifle.
The killing of the 13-year-old lion, who was famed for his lush black-tinged mane, quickly sparked outrage across Hollywood from famous animal lovers who condemned Palmer’s actions.
“Ohh the dentist ‘had no idea’ the lion was famous. Because had he known, he would never have murdered it without asking for a selfie first,” actress Olivia Wilde tweeted.
Meanwhile, “The Office” creator Ricky Gervais, who has become a vocal supporter for animal rights tweeted: “RIP #CecilTheLion. I’m struggling to imagine anything more beautiful than this.”
“The Talk” co-host Sharon Osbourne went as far as to call Palmer “Satan,” and warned people not to seek his dental services. “He is a killer. Beware!”
Police in Zimbabwe have arrested two people over Cecil’s death, and Palmer is being sought by officials in connection with the case, according to CNN. He may also face poaching charges as it is believed that the lion was lured out of the national park into an adjacent hunting concession area with freshly killed bait.
Aside from his good looks, Cecil was a participant in a study that Oxford University in the U.K. was conducting, and he had been outfitted with a GPS collar.
In a statement released Tuesday and reported by CNN, Palmer claimed he hired professional guides who secured proper permits. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he said. “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. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he concluded, claiming that authorities in Zimbabwe and the U.S. had not yet contacted him but he would assist them in any inquiries.
Palmer’s dental practice was closed Tuesday, while its Facebook page and website have both been shut down after being flooded by furious commentators, prompting some users to turn to Yelp with one calling him an “American psycho incarnate.”
Read the angry tweets below and watch YouTube footage of Cecil.
#WalterPalmer is Satan. I don't know how anyone could go to this man for dental services after this. He is a killer. Beware!
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) July 28, 2015
— Chad Lowe (@ichadlowe) July 29, 2015
This #WalterPalmer is a poor excuse of a human being!
— Cara Delevingne (@Caradelevingne) July 28, 2015
Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides know they're in the game. #CecilTheLion
— Nicky Rothschild (@NickyHilton) July 29, 2015
Used to hate my dentist for yelling at me about my night guard but at least she didn't kill #CecilTheLion
— Jerry O'Connell (@MrJerryOC) July 28, 2015
I understand hunting over-populated or invasive species. But hunting a threatened animal, that is deplorable. #CecilTheLion
— AshlanGorseCousteau (@ashlancousteau) July 28, 2015
— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) July 29, 2015
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) July 29, 2015
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) July 28, 2015
This asshole. Why would anyone want to kill a lion for fun? What is wrong with people?
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 28, 2015
Ohh the dentist "had no idea" the lion was famous. Because had he known, he would never have murdered it without asking for a selfie first.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) July 28, 2015
Zimbabwe's Most Famous Lion Found Decapitated Outside National Park http://t.co/hcYhdNehWI What a loss… Why would you anyone do this?
— ian somerhalder (@iansomerhalder) July 28, 2015
We will never learn of the damage we have done until there is nothing left. #CecilTheLion
— Theo Rossi (@Theorossi) July 29, 2015
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) July 28, 2015
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 28, 2015
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 29, 2015