The Minnesota dentist who authorities say killed a beloved Zimbabwe lion named Cecil donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Federal Elections Commission (FEC) forms show Walter James Palmer, a dentist in Eden Prairie, Minn., donated $5,000 to the Romney campaign in 2012.
Local news reports have identified Palmer as a dentist in the Minneapolis outer suburb of Bloomington who resides in Eden Prairie, another Twin Cities suburb.
Palmer is at the center of an international storm after the death of Cecil the lion, who was well-known at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
The Minnesota dentist reportedly shot the lion with a bow and arrow, but that failed to kill it. The lion was then tracked and shot again with a gun, before it was skinned and beheaded.
Palmer has released a statement expressing regret for killing the lion, which was wearing a collar used by researchers to track its movement and monitor the lion population. He has also said that he believed he was acting legally.
“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,” Palmer said. “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”