Dr. Walter Palmer, the dentist from Minneapolis, Minnesota who killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, has announced that he is returning to his dental practice on Tuesday. Cecil the Lion was a favorite at Hwange National Park and wore a collar as part of a research study with Oxford. Cecil was lured by Palmer’s hunting party off his conservation and killed illegally. Palmer’s dental practice, River Bluff, reopened without him in late August despite frequent protests, and this will be the first time that Palmer has returned. The announcement was made during his first interview in over a month. He has said this is the only interview he’s going to give.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Palmer Is Returning to His Dental Practice on Tuesday
Palmer has said that he intends to reopen his dental practice, River Bluff, on Tuesday, The Washington Times reported. River Bluff has received a huge backlash since the news broke about Palmer killing Cecil the Lion. Many protests were held outside the dental office and many people left angry reviews and message on the practice’s social media accounts. River Bluff currently has a tweet pinned to the top of its Twitter profile discussing how hurtful cyberbullying can be. The practice has also tweeted about how dangerous lions in Zimbabwe are, including this post:
Palmer said that he feels it is safe for him to return to his practice and his staff and patients support him and want him back. He’s been gone for about six weeks, but he that he hasn’t been hiding. He’s simply been among family and friends, but the location is not important, The Washington Times reported.
2. He Refused to Say That He Would Not Hunt Lions in Zimbabwe in the Future
During his interview with The Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Palmer was asked if he would hunt again in Zimbabwe. Rather than saying no, Palmer simply said, “I don’t know about the future,” The Washington Times reported. He said that he has been to Zimbabwe four times and it’s a wonderful country to hunt in. He added that he always obeyed the laws there.
3. Palmer Insisted He Did Not Know His Hunt Was Illegal
During the interview, Palmer emphasized — as he has in the past — that he had no idea the hunt was illegal or that he was killing a favorite, loved lion. He said he believes everything he did personally was legal and he was absolutely stunned to find out that his group had killed Cecil the Lion, the Chicago Tribune reported. He said that no one in his party knew the lion was Cecil and he would not have shot Cecil if he had known.
4. He Would Not Share Details About the Hunt That Killed Cecil, But Expressed Dismay At How People Connected to Him Have Been Treated
During the interview, Palmer would not disclose exactly how much he paid to hunt the lion in Zimbabwe, although previous reports have estimated the cost at being around $50,000, The Washington Times reported. He also would not talk about other similar hunts he has been on. However, he did say that he was absolutely dismayed and heartbroken at how the news had affected the staff at his dental practice. He said his wife and adult daughter have also been threatened:
I don’t understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved at all.
Shortly after the news broke, Zimbabwean officials said they wanted to extradite Palmer to face charges there. However, there has been no public word of any official steps being taken to make that happen, The Washington Times reported. Joe Friedberg, a Minneapolis attorney who is Palmer’s unpaid consultant, said he has heard nothing about an extradition and even offered to have Palmer do a recorded interview with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, but they never got back to him. Zimbabwe has charged Theo Bronkhorst, the professional hunter who helped Palmer, with failure to prevent an illegal hunt. The owner of the land where Cecil was killed, Honest Ndlovu, may face charges for letting the illegal hunt occur. People are asking the USFWS about its investigation of Palmer:
5. Reactions on Twitter Are Angry and Dismayed That He’s Returning
The reactions on Twitter about Palmer’s return to his dental practice are angry and dismayed. Some people feel that just has not yet been done. Here are just a few reactions from people online: