Walter Palmer Surfaces: See First New Photo Of ‘Cecil The Lion’ Killer As He Reopens Dental Practice

Walter Palmer, the 55-year-old Minnesota dentist and prolific “trophy” hunter, has emerged from hiding and been photographed for the first time since he became the object of worldwide outrage for his killing of Cecil, a beloved, 13-year-old Zimbabwe lion who lived in Hwange National Park in that country.

Cecil the Lion was a favorite of tourists for his gentle nature and striking black mane, and became a major attraction thanks to his willingness to be photographed and to interact with visitors.

But early in July, Palmer paid about $50,000 to a professional hunting “guide,” who lured Cecil out of the park with a slab of meat. Once the the friendly lion had crossed over onto a privately run game reserve, Palmer shot him with a bow and arrow.

In a particularly grotesque twist, Palmer failed to kill Cecil, who staggered off wounded and suffering — until Palmer and his guides caught up to Cecil almost two days later, shooting him dead with a rifle, skinning and beheading the lion.

When the killing began to receive worldwide publicity, Palmer issued a statement claiming that he did not know that Cecil was “a local favorite” and that he believed his actions were legal. But he then went underground, closing his Minnesota dental office and issuing no further statements as the Zimbabwe government announced that it would seek his extradition on poaching charges.

But on Tuesday, new photos of Palmer appeared in the media, reportedly snapped over the weekend, showing the disgraced hunger walking alone near his mansion in Eden Prarie, Minnesota, wearing dark glasses and sporting a military-style buzzcut, clad in a neatly pressed, bright red short-sleeve shirt and jeans.

I knew it. U.S. authorities LIED. #WalterPalmer. He is FREE. @leslieanneliese @anon99percenter

— Bertha (@BSVLMJ) August 18, 2015

More photos of Palmer on his walk can be viewed at this link, via Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

The lion-killing dentist was hit with a new “trophy hunting” controversy last week when new information emerged that in 2008, when Palmer illegally shot and killed a black bear in Wisconsin, he offered witnesses $20,000 to lie about where he actually shot the bear, so Palmer could avoid felony charges.

The new photos of Palmer surfaced on the same day that he reportedly reopened his dental office, River Bluff Dental, in Bloomington, Minnesota.

But according to a statement issued on River Bluff Dental letterhead, Palmer would not be “on site” at the office and the staff of the dental practice were gagged from speaking to the media or discussing the controversy around Walter Palmer and his killing of Cecil the Lion — stating also that the office was “private” and media members were barred from stepping onto the property.

[Image: CBS News Twitter Feed]