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​Passage: Cecil the Lion

It happened this past week ... a world-wide uproar over the recent killing of Cecil the Lion.

Cecil was 13 years old, a huge, black-maned lion, and a star attraction at a national park in Zimbabwe.

A star, that is, until early July, when Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer (with the help of two local hunting guides) used food to lure Cecil outside the protection of the park, where the lion was hunted down and killed.

Faced with angry headlines at home and abroad, Palmer has gone into hiding. He's issued a statement saying he had believed the hunt was legal.

Unappeased, protesters have left stuffed animals outside Palmer's currently-closed dental office -- while officials in Zimbabwe are calling for his extradition to face criminal charges, as the two local hunting guides already do.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is investigating as well, and that it was contacted late in the week by a representative of Walter Palmer.

As of late Friday, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, the British conservation group that had been tracking Cecil with as GPS collar for years, had received nearly half a million dollars in contributions.

All of which, of course, comes too late for Cecil ... and at a very late hour for all African lions, whose numbers have dropped from an estimated 75,000 in 1980 to fewer than half that today.

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