A British safari enthusiast has released heartbreaking footage of Cecil the lion happily playing with his family. The video comes after an American poacher slayed the innocent beast.
Denist Walter Palmer hunted and killed the animal in July after paying £35,000 for the priviledge. The 55-year-old, from Minneapolis, issued a statement regarding the outcry over Cecil via a local public relations company and claimed that the hunt was legal.
The majestic animal was part of a project for Oxford University and had been fitted with a GPS collar by a team monitoring the impact of hunting on lions in the Hwange national park.
The endearing footage captures a glimpse of the magnificent creature
Paula French, who regularly travels to Africa to watch animals on safari, said she was prompted to post the footage on hearing news of the lion's killing. "I was sad to hear the news and so put the video up," she told Reuters by telephone.
It is feared that the next alpha male in the hierarchy, Jericho, could now kill all six of Cecil's cubs to gain control of the pack.
Animal rights organisation PETA said it wants to see Palmer "extradited, charged and preferably hanged".
News of the killing has sparked worldwide outrage and many famous faces have been posting their views on social media.
Comedian Ricky Gervais, a prominent animal rights campaigner, wrote: "It's not for food. It's not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental."
Model and actress Cara Delaveinge hit out at the hunter and stated: "This #WalterPalmer is a poor excuse of a human being!"
Television celebrity and presenter Sharon Osborne also commented: "#WalterPalmer is Satan. I don't know how anyone could go to this man for dental services after this. He is a killer. Beware!"
After being identified as the killer, furious commenters stormed onto Palmers dentistry Yelp page.
One person posted: “Nothing in this world would give me greater pleasure than to see your head mounted on a wall, your carcass defiled, degraded and paraded as you did to Cecil and near countless other animals."
His dental practice is now closed, with local residents posting pictures of the surgery with tributes to the fallen lion outside. A note on the door of his home referred callers to the public relations firm.