Jack Hanna on the Killing of Cecil the Lion

The famed zookeeper says 'something has to happen' to Dr. Walter Palmer, who he believes has been 'totally inaccurate' in his claims.
5:44 | 08/02/15

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Transcript for Jack Hanna on the Killing of Cecil the Lion
trophy hunting sparked by that American dentist who allegedly killed the famous lion Cecil after luring him out of a national park in Zimbabwe, and overnight, there were new questions about the fate of Cecil's companion. We'll talk to jack Hanna on shortly, but first, the latest from ABC's Alex Perez. Reporter: This morning, we're learning that Jericho the lion is still alive seen in a photo taken this morning after conflicting reports of his death Saturday, but the outrage over the death of his companion Cecil is growing. The hunting of all lions, leopards now suspended. Hunting has been suspended. Reporter: Meanwhile, still no public sighting of Minnesota dentist Dr. Palmer, who admitted to shooting Cecil this month. Palmer said he broke no laws. Zimbabwean authorities are demanding his return. We're looking forward for his extradition. Reporter: All of this putting a spotlight on an already-heated debate on trophy hunting. Conversations hoping that American will put a ban on trophy hunting imports. We should really shame these people, this is not acceptable behavior in this day and age. Reporter: But hunting advocates say it's a critical way to pay for conservation efforts. For "This week," Alex Perez, ABC news, Chicago. And jack Hanna joins us now from Montana, he's director emeritus of the Columbus zoo. Has spent time on that very animal reserve that Cecil appears to have been lured from in Africa. Mr. Hanna, thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. So, I got to ask you, what was your reaction when you first heard the news about Cecil? Well, you can imagine, working with animals for almost 40 years now, the thing is, people have to understand that, in 1947 when I was born, there were about 450,000 lions. In the mid'-70s, when my kids were born, there 100,000. Today, there are less than 30,000. When I first started filming there were lions everywhere. Obviously today, their Numbers have dropped. As far as what happened, real quickly, four things here, I wasn't there, you weren't there. Number one, this animal was habituated, that means the researchers studying the animal from the distance. That animal knows that. That lion knew that for 15 years or so, right? When you go up on this animal, it mean habituated, it's not tame, it's just sitting there. Number two is, all of a sudden, you go through and you drag a carcass to the hunting side, that was proven that they drug the carcass. Now, someone said that the man might not have seen it on the lion. I was there when they were collaring the lions, therefore you could see that collar. There's another item right there. You can imagine already, they didn't have the right permits, that could be or that could be -- not be. Obviously -- by the way, I'm not anti-hunter. I'm not a hunter. As far as the dollars that go into this, hunting in general throughout the world, millions, trillions of dollars go into it to protect the animals as well. This whole thing as you said is very difficult situation. Right now, if you have lions, as far as hunting lions in Zimbabwe, the issues they have right now are beyond abominable. Clearly in your view, he did something very wrong here, Zimbabwe has asked for him to be extradited. What do you think should happen to him? Well, let's put it this way, several years ago, a gentleman was in yellowstone and took an elk, took the animal, killed the animal, he got a very hefty fine, 40 or so years in prison, that was because of an elk in our own country. What should happen is, as far as extraditing him to Zimbabwe -- You think he should be punished. He could go for jail for this? Yeah, I think every good hunter would agree, something has to happen here. Because that's not what good hunters do. He had to know some of these four points I just pointed out. You can't shoot him like a cow. Very quickly do you think it's time, I know you're not anti-hunter, but is it time to put aside this issue of trophy hunting? Yes, the predator relationship, the prey is messed up in a lot of places, so, you have to work on that, however you have to look at it consider the loss of the lions. Take some of these animals that might be plentiful somewhere and put these animals in other areas where they need these animals. Places where they need them. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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