The Safari Club International, whose advocacy is to promote hunting worldwide, has suspended Walter Palmer's membership after news that the Minnesota dentist allegedly killed a protected lion illegally.
The non-profit organization is also suspending the membership of Theo Bronkhorst who served as Palmer's guide when he plotted to hunt down and kill Cecil the Lion of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
The Safari Club stressed: "Those who intentionally take wildlife illegally should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by law."
In a statement made late Wednesday, the club said Palmer and Bronkhorst's memberships will be "on hiatus until investigations are complete."
This might be the case for a while, anyway, since Palmer has become unreachable.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is currently investigating the death of Cecil the Lion, is trying to get in touch with Palmer, but has so far been unsuccessful. On Thursday, Edward Grace, deputy chief of the Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement, requested Palmer or his representatives to contact them as soon as possible.
The Associated Press also reported having attempted to contact Palmer but was unable to reach him. According to the report, Palmer has not been responding to emails, and the phone lines at his dentistry clinic River Buff Dental have made it impossible to reach him.
A previous report said the Minnesota dentist paid $50,000 for the hunt, which was received by Bronkhorst. During the trip, they used a dead animal as bait and fastened it to a car, which they parked outside the Hwange National Park. This drew the lion Cecil from the confines of the "free roam" park, where he was wounded by a crossbow shot by Palmer. It took the dentist another 40 hours to hunt down the lion and finally shoot him dead with a rifle.
Bronkhorst is facing criminal charges in Zimbabwe for the killing of Cecil, but Palmer is yet to face authorities.
The hunting enthusiast, who has traveled the world to hunt down wildlife animals such as rhinos, leopards and bears, did say previously that he was not aware that the lion he shot dead was a local favorite and protected as part of a study. He stressed that he was guided by professionals to make sure the hunt was legal. The dentist has not commented further since.