Why Big Game Hunters Want Trophies

CECILAs Zimbabwe has asked the United States to extradite Walter Palmer ?the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion, pictured above, ? to face trial in the country where the alleged crime was committed, here?s a deep dive into the psychology of big game hunters.?

When this week began, chances are high that you?d never heard of Cecil the lion, the beloved big cat of Zimbabwe?s Hwange National Park. But by now, you?ve likely heard of his death.?

Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, paid about $55,000 for the privilege of lion-hunting ? though it in the end wasn?t much of a hunt: Palmer and his guides reportedly used bait to lure the 13-year-old lion a half-mile outside of the protected park area. There, Palmer shot the animal with a bow and arrow, inflicting a severe wound that would lead to the animal?s death 2 days later by gunshot. The New York Times reports that Palmer had planned to mount Cecil?s head back home in Minnesota.?

Palmer has since expressed his regret over killing Cecil, claiming in a statement to the Star-Tribune on Tuesday that he did not realize that what he had done was not legal, or that Cecil was a famous and well-loved lion, or that the animal was the subject of an ongoing research project with Oxford University. But his words suggest that if Cecil hadn?t been famous, Palmer would regret nothing.

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