The American dentist who has been at the epicentre of a global backlash after he killed a famous lion has finally spoken out.
Walter Palmer emerged out of the blue for an interview on Sunday for the first time since killing Cecil the lion – in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe – in which he declared that he would be back to work within days
The dentist has spent more than a month in hiding since the news broke and spread like wildfire, during which he became the target of protests and death threats. But surprisingly, he intends to return to his dental practice in Minneapolis as soon as Tuesday.
In the interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Palmer expressed the belief that he acted legally, and was ‘stunned’ to find out his hunting party had ‘killed one of Zimbabwe’s treasured animals.’
“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,” he said. “Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”
During the interview, in which no video recording our photographs were permitted, Walter refused to answer questions regarding how much money he paid to go on the hunt and also refused to discuss previous hunts.
He also described how ‘heartbroken’ he felt due to the disruptions his dentist clinic was hit by in the weeks following the ordeal. He also expressed angst over how threatened both his wife and daughter felt during the time.
He finished the interview by saying that Zimbabwe had been a ‘wonderful’ country for him to hunt in, but he is ‘uncertain’ of his future and whether he will hunt again.
Following the incident, Zimbabwe tightened its rules and regulations when it comes to hunting lion, elephant and leopard – while three major US airlines banned the shipment of trophies.