Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, who has become perhaps the most hated hunter in America this summer, has returned to work to a modest police presence and some vocal protesters.
It’s been six weeks since Palmer has been seen at his dental practice, and he arrived Tuesday with little fanfare, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The paper described him as stoic, silent, but greeting his employees with a wide smile when he finally entered his practice, River Bluff Dental.
Plenty of media and about 10 protesters gathered outside Walter’s office when word leaked that he’d be returning to work. One had a bullhorn, others had signs. Ten officers were stationed in the area as well, ABC News added. The police don’t intend to set up significant force — Palmer has his own security, and police aren’t very concerned about his safety.
According to NBC News, Palmer said he and his family have been threatened by people enraged that he killed beloved a 13-year-old lion, named Cecil, from a nature preserve in Zimbabwe. Since then, people have viciously spoken out against the big game hunter, who, in an interview with the Tribune and Associated Press, said he just wanted to get back to normal life.
Though some protesters taped “Justice for Cecil” notes on his office door and another held a sign that read: “How about you donate some of your money to endangered animals instead. Apparently you have plenty,” people like Stephanie Michaelis are fed up with the controversy. She made her opinion known to Walter’s critics, gathered outside his office.
“They want (Walter) dead; they want his business dead. They want him extradited and hung. I’ve seen the signs; I’ve seen the rhetoric. I’m tired of it. … What do we have to do with a lion in Africa?”
But many are still upset by Walter’s actions earlier this summer, calling the death of Cecil senseless. The lion was an important fixture at Hwange National Park. He was loved by tourists and had been outfitted with a GPS collar so that scientists at Oxford University could study him.
Then Walter Palmer arrived with local guides, who helped him lure the animal off the reserve, where he shot and killed him. Palmer has contended his belief that his actions were legal and that he didn’t know Cecil was famous.
“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.”
Walter hasn’t been charged, but Zimbabwe wants him to be extradited. His two partners in the hunt have been charged for their role. Dallas Rising, Minneapolis Animal Rights Commission executive director, was one of the protestors outside Palmer’s office Tuesday. He’s afraid justice will elude Cecil.
“It appears now [extradition] doesn’t appear very likely. … If you have enough money and are a citizen of the United States, you can get away with anything and have absolutely no consequences,” he said.
[Photo Courtesy Adam Bettcher / Getty Images]