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Minnesota dentist identified as the man who hunted down Zimbabwe's most famous lion

The tourist suspected of paying a safari operator $55,000 to hunt and kill Zimbabwe's famous lion, Cecil, has been identified as Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota. Though the tourist responsible was initially identified as a Spaniard, two independent sources confirmed Palmer's identity to The Telegraph.

Conservation groups in Zimbabwe are furious about the death of the 13-year-old lion, a beloved and well-known animal at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Cecil was reportedly lured out of the park with food, shot with a crossbow, and then shot and killed with a gun after the hunters tracked him for than 40 hours. Palmer then allegedly skinned and beheaded the lion, leaving its remains on the park's outskirts. Palmer's spokesman claims that Palmer says he "had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides."

Described by his spokesman as a big-game hunter who "hunts the world over," Palmer has made headlines before. In 2009, Palmer was interviewed by The New York Times for slaying "a trophy elk worthy of consideration for the archery record books."