American dentist accused of hunting well-known, protected lion

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HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwean police are searching for an American dentist who is accused of hunting down a well-known and protected lion.

Walter J. Palmer, 55, of Eden Prairie, Minn., allegedly paid more than $50,000 to kill a lion named Cecil, according to the Star Tribune.

The dentist is disputing the claim and told the Star Tribune, “Obviously, some things are being misreported.”

Authorities arrested two Zimbabwean men who are accused of helping Palmer hunt the lion.

Palmer could face poaching charges if convicted.

The Star Tribune reported that Palmer has a prior conviction on his record for poaching a bear in Wisconsin just a few years ago.

Records show that Palmer has held hunting and fishing licenses in three states: Minnesota, Florida and Alaska.

In addition, The Telegraph reported that “two independent sources” identified Palmer as the man who killed the lion.

Palmer did not answer phone calls to his home or his dental office in Minneapolis on Tuesday, according to the Star Tribune.

Commenters have taken to the dental office’s Facebook page to express their disgust with Palmer.

The two Zimbabwean men face poaching charges as well.

If they are convicted, they could face 15 years in prison.