Walter Palmer had been out of the public eye since being linked to the July killing of Cecil, a lion who was a tourist favorite and the subject of academic research.
Palmer’s revelation Sunday night that he was resuming practice at his Bloomington, Minn., office set protesters scrambling to make their presence known to the veteran hunter who has been under intense scrutiny since he killed Cecil, a much-beloved lion in Zimbabwe, this summer.
Dr Palmer has said a few carefully chosen words to the local newspaper, perhaps in the hope he could go back to work without a fuss. He said his staff and patients want him back.
Palmer killed black-maned Cecil after the lion was lured from the protected Hwange National Park paying a reported £35,000 to hunt the wild beast.
Palmer’s office reopened several weeks ago without him and now he’s decided the time is right for him to start back to work.
Police were present as the dentists parked his vehicle on a nearby street and walked into his office in Bloomington, Minnesota.
It has been a month since Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri announced that the police would process paperwork to extradite Palmer for participating in a hunt that authorities here said was illegal.
“Hopefully, this will die out and we can move on”, Deputy Police Chief Mike Hartley said Tuesday morning.
Escorted in by a bodyguard, Palmer avoided reporters and protesters.
“It was interesting to see how he wanted to control what got out there”, AP correspondent Brian Bakst told KARE 11’s Lou Raguse in an interview about his discussion with Palmer.
In recent interviews, he has claimed that the hunt was legal and that he was shocked to hear the animal was famous.
Police in Minnesota say they’re hoping media attention will subside soon for a dentist who killed a beloved African lion.
A woman who lives near the clinic says people should leave Palmer alone. ‘Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion’. Protesters congregated outside his practice, River Bluff Dental, beginning in late July.
Theo Bronkhorst, a Zimbabwean professional hunter who helped Palmer, has been charged with “failure to prevent an illegal hunt”.
He further said he was armored with bows and arrows during the hunt but he declined to say anything about whether he would abide by the request of Zimbabwe over legal allegations. “They are a huge market for us”, he said, refusing to be named because the killing of Cecil is before the courts.
Some carried signs and others shouted that Palmer should be extradited to Zimbabwe to face possible charges.