Stars share their strong reactions to the killing of Cecil the lion by US dentist Walter Palmer

We’ve all been left shocked and saddened by the death of Cecil the lion, the beloved Zimbabwean animal shot by American dentist Walter Palmer.

The much-loved creature, who was greatly admired in Zimbabwe and was popular with tourists at the Hwange National Park game reserve, was tragically killed by Palmer during a hunt thought to have taken place on 1 July, though his body was not discovered until a few days later.

Palmer – who has a history of hunting and has a felony record in America for killing a black bear in 2006 – reportedly paid around $50,000 to go on the hunt.

It’s thought that the animal was lured out of the Hwange National Park at night and was injured by Palmer with a bow and arrow. He was then shot dead 40 hours later with a gun and was skinned and beheaded, according to local charity the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

As well as being known for his friendliness towards visitors at the park, Cecil was being monitored by researchers at Oxford University as part of a lion conservation project and had led two prides.

His death has sparked outrage across the world and Palmer has kept his dental practice closed since he was named as the killer, but in a statement has claimed that he believed the hunt was legal and didn’t know that 13-year-old Cecil was protected.

Several famous names including Cara Delevingne and animal lover Ricky Gervais, have spoken of their horror over the killing.

Sharon Osbourne certainly didn’t hold back on voicing her opinion about Palmer…

Ariana Grande – who has previously said that she loves animals more than she loves most people – admitted she was deeply upset by the news.

Perhaps one of the most emotional reactions of all came from US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who teared up as he spoke about the killing and urged his viewers to donate to The Wildlife Conservation Unit.

‘Why would a human being feel compelled to do that? How is that fun?’ Jimmy asked about Palmer’s actions.

‘Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things?’

Watch his emotional speech below…