Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, the killer of Cecil the Lion, reopens his clinic this week after an extended hiatus and claims he is frustrated at the backlash he and his family have received following the incident.
Palmer went into hiding for over a month following intense global anger and threats on his life for Cecil’s killing in Zimbabwe on July 1. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune — the only one Palmer will give to the press — the killer of Cecil the lion maintains his innocence and claims he thought he was acting within the law.
“If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn’t have taken it. Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”
Cecil the Lion was part of a study by Oxford University at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and wore a collar to identify him. Outraged conservationists indicated that the 13-year-old lion lived for 40 hours after being hit by Palmer’s arrow, which he shot from outside the borders of the compound.
However, the killer of Cecil the Lion disputes these accounts and says the animal was tracked down via GPS and killed the following day. Palmer, who is an experienced hunter, was visiting the Zimbabwean park and hired two local guides who have been arrested, charged, and are being prosecuted for the crime.
After Palmer was identified as the killer of Cecil the Lion, his dental office in a Minneapolis suburb was forced to close and was shuttered off because of threats, while his vacation home in Florida was vandalized. Palmer has been viciously attacked on social media and threats have been made to him and his family.
Palmer says he is especially “heartbroken” for the staff at his dental office, which was affected by the closure in July. According to the dentist, his wife and adult daughter have been extremely affected and feel for their safety.
“I’ve been out of the public eye. That doesn’t mean I’m in hiding. I’ve been among people, family and friends. Location is really not that important.”
The killer of Cecil the Lion said he has been to Zimbabwe four times and praised the African country for being “a wonderful country for me to hunt in, and I have always followed the laws.”
Oxford researchers feared that Cecil’s cubs would be killed by the lion who took over the pride; however, all indications are that Jericho the lion has not harmed the young cubs and is protecting them. It is unclear if protesters will be present when the killer of Cecil the lion reopens his clinic on Tuesday.
[Image via Daugher#3/Wikipedia]