On Tuesday, 55-year-old Walter Palmer returned to his dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota. It was the first time the dentist returned to his office since media outlets identified him as the man who shot and killed Cecil, a popular black-maned lion in Zimbabwe.

Palmer gave and in-depth interview to the press when he met with reporters from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Associated Press on Sunday. In the 20-minute interview, Palmer reaffirmed his belief that the kill was legal and corrected several “inaccuracies” that have been widely circulated in the news. The Minnesota dentist also commented on the protests, criticism, hate mail, and death threats that have been sent to him.

“It’s been especially hard on my wife and daughter. They’ve been threatened. In the media, as well, and the social media,” he said.

“I don’t understand that level of humanity, to come after people not involved at all,” Palmer added.

The death of Cecil garnered international outrage and provoked a debate about the ethics of exotic hunting. Shortly after Palmer shot the lion in July, Zimbabwe officials declared the kill illegal—allegedly because he did not have the right hunting permits and the lion was lured out of a protected area, Hwange National Park. Those same officials have been vocal in calling for Palmer to return to Zimbabwe to face charges, along with his guide Theo Bronkhorst, and a landowner, Honest Trymore Ndlovu. Both of those men have since been arrested and charged.

Local conservation groups claim that Palmer and his party lured Cecil out of the park by strapping meat to a vehicle and driving it to Ndlovu’s property. There, they said Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow and then waited 40 hours before tracking it down and killing it. At that point, some accused Palmer and his guide of removing a tracking collar from the lion and attempting to destroy it.

In his recent interview, Palmer denied that he lured the lion out of the park and stated once again that to his knowledge, the incident was entirely legal.

“Zimbabwe has been a wonderful country for me to hunt in and I’ve always followed the laws for the country I’m in,” he said.

Palmer confirmed that the lion was taken outside the park and that it was killed with a bow, unlike certain other reports that suggested the animal was taken with a crossbow or firearm. The dentist further added that it took far less than 40 hours to dispatch the animal after it was first wounded, and added that neither he nor his guide saw the collar until they recovered the animal. Joe Friedberg, an attorney who accompanied Palmer to the interview, added that hunting collared animals is perfectly legal in Zimbabwe.

Palmer also clarified that contrary to media reports, he was not in “hiding” during July and August, when protesters appeared outside of his dental practice and his home was vandalized. The dentist stated that he simply avoided the public eye due to concerns for his family’s safety. The Palmers have received numerous death threats over the past two months and the President of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, has called for him to be “hanged.” PETA recently unveiled a new product in their online store that appears to be a Halloween costume of a dentist being brutally mauled by a plush lion. A name tag that reads “Dr. Palmer, Dentist” leaves little doubt to who the costume is supposed to portray.

You can watch a video of Palmer returning to his office below, as well as an interview with a protester.

https://youtu.be/ME3bcxy4kMo

Despite the circumstances, Palmer says he feels safe.

“I’ve taken precautions for safety. One reason why I feel safe is because of the special care that Bloomington police and Eden Prairie police have provided for my staff, office and home. I’m not concerned about safety for that reason,” he said.

Palmer is currently in contact with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Many observers, including hunters, conservationists, and animal rights activists, say they are withholding judgement until Palmer comes forward and court proceedings begin.

Hunters are a major source of funding for wildlife conservation, and pour millions of dollars into protecting animals like lions and making sure that local wildlife agencies are equipped to fight poachers. Hunting is also an effective method of culling aggressive or dangerous animals that would normally be euthanized.

As a rule, hunting organizations oppose poaching and the illegal killing of wildlife.

Image screenshot of video by MyMailOnline on YouTube

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  • eric kellin

    I don’t care how Palmer makes his excuses. He knew exactly what was going on. He’s been a “hunter” for many years and there is no way didn’t know how the hunt was going to happen. With maps, GPS etc. he again, knew just what the end result was going to be. BS to excuses.

    • Charli

      BS to your righteous indignation. When you suck on your Taco Bell, do you know how it got to you? I doubt it. When you purchase your overpriced, pretend, recycled clothes, do you know how they got to you? No. When you purchase a hunt, in the US, and abroad, it is not likely to know if the proprietor has done his business in a completely legal manner. I think you’d count on them to make sure they have their butts covered. To accuse this guy of knowing, and planning on doing this illegally is beyond stupid. Your emotionalism is clouding what little sense of reason you have left. The penalties far outweigh any risk you’d take to get an animal like this. Especially after having spent the kind of money it takes to do a hunt like this. By the way don’t facts mean anything to you? Zimbabwe isn’t trying to extradite this man. At least they have the sense to hold the correct people responsible for what amounts to clerical errors. It is perfectly legal to take a collared animal. They aren’t excluded simply because they are in a case study. By taking the animal they still get info that is applied to the study. Then their attention turns to what happens after. Like which male takes over as the dominant animal. If you knew anything about this story you’d know this was an elderly lion that was embattled by a couple up and comers that were challenging for the top spot. This lions days were numbered anyway. All it amounts to is the change in pecking order was moved up a little. This way the lion was spared what would’ve otherwise been a slow, torturous path right on out of this world. Hunting is widely known to be the most effective and humane way of game management.

      • BSyourindignantwhat?

        Charli? Are you a person who screams out that name in the middle of the night only to realize NOBODY’S THERE? I’m pretty sure that the meat eaten or sucked on at Taco Bell isn’t of Wild Game. And the reason for your unaccounted for reply is that you’re a vegan. Go eat some cucumbers. They’re especially nice this time around. And they fit your personality because of their shape and size so you can suck Long and Hard. Be incessant about it. You think that you’re better than beasts only because you’re nothing more than a scarecrow. “If I only had a brain.” Go ahead and kill animals since they’re stupid enough not to know that they’re getting old anyway? I hope your geriatric life will be so magnificently graceful that your family won’t throw you in a den of a nursing home only to be forgotten because elderly who can’t take care of themselves any longer are burdens. Yes, that’s what some people’s views are about old folks.

    • jimt2099

      Apparently yo were there with him so that you know for a fact the he knew the hunt was illegal? Why don’t you wait until all the facts are revealed before you go passing judgement. How would you like to be judged by people that do not have all the facts, especially if yo are totally innocent?

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Doc, your a real piece of work.. I have no sympathy for you. I do feel sorry for your wife and daughter as they are just caught up in this because of your greed. I had read in several articles that this Walter Palmer plead guilty in poaching a black bear back in 2008. Is that when he started taking his so called trophies after that date? Curious because 44 states in the US belong to a compact called The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This compact among states gives the states extra leverage on poachers. They don’t have to issue licenses in their states to convicted poachers. Just a way to help stop these people like Walter Palmer. I wonder if that affected him in anyway, unless he paid them off of course. money talks…I wish the media would stop calling him a hunter, I am offended by that.

  • jimt2099

    Situations like this seem to be more prevalent over the past few years; meaning any situation where someone is accused, prior to any investigation, then the media launches a personal vendetta, or political agenda of their own; after which the simple minded citizenry of the country jump on the wagon with their death threats, and a myriad of other mindless statements, when they have absolutely no facts to base their statements, or decisions on.

    I was a police detective for several years and if I tried to make a criminal case against a person for a crime he/she committed in the same way these morons do I would be in prison instead. This is the same simple minded hick logic as the moron stating, “If you kick my dog i’ll shoot you”. How flaming stupid is that? Kill another human being over a stinking dog? Really?

    The persons that made the death threats, especially against the family members, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and be imprisoned with the maximum allowable sentence. Maybe we should pass a law against idiots, but then most of Washington,D.C. would be in prison I guess, but at least we could have a better world. It is so frustrating to have to live among idiots.

    • Tom

      I’m with you on this one Jim. This Man was had a ton of Judge, Jury, and Executioners sealing his fate before they even know anything at all except that a lion was killed. That’s enough for some. These are the same people that go to the store and buy a big ham, steak, turkey, or chicken, and take no responsibility for having any part in the demise of those animals at all. They just come from stores.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Attitudes towards “trophies”(I won’t state trophy hunting, because it is not hunting” is changing in generations. People think different than they did twenty years ago. And I can understand that. I was in law enforcement for 26 years. Palmer is just another ego head that wants to brag about what he believes is right. I believe he is wrong and did a dirty deed…This incident will haunt him for the rest of his life. Please everyone, stop calling him a “hunter”, he is not!

  • raz

    walter palmer is a felony poacher. google “walter palmer poacher in wisconsin”. read the articles.

    your call.

    he’s my boy. raz

  • JS

    Extradite to Zimbabwe and let them sort out the “legality” of the hunt.

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    RAZ, thanks for the info..I checked it out..TRUE…I certainly hope many readers check it out. Google, Walter Palmer, poacher in Wisconsin. Might change some opinions on this jerk. Yes,he is a poacher, but more of a clever one and because he has some money. He is the type that doesn’t poach for food but for his own greed and bragging. Worst type in my opinion.

  • former hunter

    Do not hunt anymore, might consider bird shooting, but gave up on rest. Was a bow hunter, and favored muzzle loading, real ones, not the inline’s that are sans cartridge, really not in spirit of laws passed for special muzzle loading, nor are crossbows in archery season,. My bias stated, and note come from family of gunsmiths, world hunters and shooters. This and others of same ilk are always backed up by professional hunters, they are not “bow hunting” per sec,other then using a bow and no backup. The game is often nearly led to them, AKA feeding areas-etc. “Game farms” in USA even worse as animals fenced in, daily habits well known and zero danger to all of these type of hunters, as they are NOT hunters but “Harvesting” and huge difference between hunter and harvester, in sport, ethics and values.

    The “harvester” must kill something as that is what they are there to do, equipped with latest gear, technology and less then sporting ethics, they kill to hang it on the wall so to speak, The hunters and fewer each year, are there for the hunt, the outdoors and the challenge of meeting the game on their own turf, conditions and levels. Probably the purest example of such, is the guys who hunt boar with spears and knife, long bow hunters (sans hi tech gear) and the muzzle loader with the 1700-1800’s type guns. They all fall into what is called the values of the “Long Huners” AKA http://nmlra.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/LH-FairChase.pdf

    There are additional values that can and should be self imposed, AKA do not take the shoot unless 100% sure of clean kill. Many will say they do not have enough tiem off for long hunt on games terms, etc etc..Open any site to do with hunting and related and you will be overwhelmed by the tech gear, and related, you find few stories anymore of hunting, rather more on tech devices, longer range, highly scoped/dot etc ad on’s. Few now days state the best hunting day they ever had was when they did not take the shot, but just sat there and watched the game do what they day. Now days way to many out for the “Kill”, rather then the sport, and it seems lesser nr of hunting liscenes issued as younger not interested. I traded rifle hunting for stock mounted camera with neat little add on cross hair filter, and now use this to “Shoot”. I still have 11 rifles, nearly all pre 1850, few cartridge Sharps etc and two tack driver 22.-250/30.o6 which are fed hand loads. All game I have shot over years ended up on the stove, I would never shoot for “trophey” as those special ones are for watching.

    So folks, “Harvester” or “Long Hunter” your call, your values and if applicable, one of these values is passed on to next generation. Look in mirror, Hunter-Sportsman or Harvester-Hang on wall, your call, no middle ground… need we ask what this guy was/is, proven disregard to kill at will, a Harvester+

  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    Former Hunter…………..how and very very true!

  • gary j. kraudelt

    Having hunted in Africa I can say that you rely totally on your professional hunter and the land owner to get your proper permits. Whether they had these is still unknown. But what I find disgusting is the news media has not covered the fact that an employee from the same park was killed a couple of weeks ago while leading a game walk. They ran into a male lion, he tried to scare it away, and it attacked and killed this brave guy. But other than web sties like this one, no one mentions it. Yet, the media worldwide goes crazy over a lion that’s had it’s picture taken a lot. As a previous comment said, this was an older lion destined to die soon anyway. That’s the way of nature.

  • Joe

    The lion was arrowed, that dictates a close range shot of approx. 30 yards or less, and he couldn’t see the Lion was wearing a “collar,” ? b.s., not to mention
    he was lured by food to private property to perpetuate this heinous and cowardly deed. Was the collar turned in after the killing ? No ..
    I believe he was in total awareness of his actions and should be held responsible, at least tell the entire truth you will garner some respect..