The dentist who killed Cecil the Lion says he’s ready to get on with life. Walter Palmer plans to reopen his practice this week after taking a month-long hiatus due to online trolls who trashed his office. The world was shocked by the fate of Zimbabwe’s treasured lion, and angry protesters vandalized Palmer’s home. Many remain disgusted at the now infamous photo of Palmer and a buddy posing with Cecil’s lifeless body.
All at once, the Internet was full of opinions on the big game hunting, and celebrities weighed in, too. From a furious Betty White to a displeased Arnold Schwarzenegger to a denial-filled Ted Nugent, everyone spoke their minds. Jimmy Kimmel raised an extraordinary amount of money with a fundraiser. As for Palmer, he appeared to disappear and, for all practical purposes, closed his office.
Late Sunday evening, the Minneapolis Star Tribune dropped an interview with Palmer. This is the first time he’s publicly spoken in more than a month. Palmer said that media reports of Cecil suffering for more than 40 hours were greatly exaggerated. He also reemphasized that he used a local guide and had no idea Cecil was a famous lion:
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
Palmer then said he wasn’t hiding from anyone for the past month. He was just, you know, enjoying a little vacation. Now he’s back because his staff depends on him:
“I’ve been out of the public eye seeing family and friends … I have a lot of staff members, and I’m a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives. And I’m a health professional. I need to get back to my staff and my patients, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”
It remains to be seen whether Palmer’s patients will continue to use his services. Surely, some of them were turned off by his actions, and future patients will be scared away by his reputation as a lion killer. Palmer admitted that his wife and daughter received threats, and he says, “I don’t understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved at all.” Indeed, this is bad news no matter how you frame the topic. His family doesn’t deserve any backlash for Palmer’s actions, no matter how unrepentant he sounds. Once again, Palmer’s letting the world know he only regrets killing a lion that would be missed.
(Via Minneapolis Star Tribune)