August 1, 2015 5:22 pm
Updated: August 1, 2015 5:50 pm

Calgary Zoo questioned for hosting hunting group with ties to Walter Palmer

Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe.

Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit via AP

CALGARY – The Calgary Zoo is under fire for hosting a fundraiser with a hunting group that has connections to the American dentist that killed Cecil the Lion.

The Calgary Chapter of Safari Club International is set to host a fundraiser at the zoo in April of next year. The event will include auctions for several hunting trips including a 10-day safari in Africa with the chance to hunt 23 different species including impalas, gazelles and leopards.

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Safari Club International has suspended the membership of Walter Palmer, the hunter at the centre of the Cecil the Lion killing, pending the results of an investigation.

WATCH: Cecil the Lion killer Walter Palmer keeps low profile amid outrage

But a member of the Calgary Animal Rights Coalition says the zoo has no business renting out its property to groups that kill wildlife.

A Calgary Zoo spokesperson says money from facility rentals provides a large portion of its annual revenue.

“The Calgary Zoo does not have a relationship with Safari Club International. We are renting space in one of our venues to the Calgary Chapter of Safari Club International for their yearly fundraiser. As a public facility, we are open to all walks of life, industries, religions, and cultures; we do not discriminate against who can rent or attend events at our facilities.”

A member of the local chapter of Safari Club International, meanwhile, says conservation is the goal for many hunters. They suggest money made from legal hunts helps save species at risk.

On its website, the Calgary Chapter of Safari Club International states it donated ten thousand dollars to the Kids Can Catch Trout Pond at the Bow Habitat Station in Calgary.

The pond provides opportunities for young people to experience fishing.

Archie Nesbitt Calgary Chapter of Safari Club International with Clement Lanthier The Calgary Zoo President at the Calgary Chapter dinner, October, 2012.

Safari Club International
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