Cecil the lion petition reaches White House as ‘killer’ remains in hiding

The White House has said it will review a petition urging the Obama administration to send the U.S. hunter who killed Cecil the lion to Zimbabwe to face justice. More than 140,000 signatures have been gathered for the bid to send Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer to the African country. It urges Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to extradite the trophy hunter. Any petition to the White House that attracts over 100,000 names within 30 days must receive an official response.

We’re investigating the killing of #CecilTheLion. Will go where facts lead. We ask Dr Palmer or his rep to contact USFWS immediately.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tweet

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it is up to the Justice Department to respond to an extradition order. Zimbabwean officials have said they wish to speak to Palmer, but the U.S. embassy said it was not aware of any extradition request. Palmer, 55, who reportedly paid park guides $50,000 to kill the lion during a hunting trip this month, remains in hiding amid global uproar. Protesters have gathered outside his suburban Minneapolis dental practice holding signs, including one that said: “Let the hunter be hunted!” Amid reported death threats, police have stepped up patrols around Palmer’s office, which has been temporarily closed.