Walter Palmer, who generated an outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has returned to his dental practice in Minnesota after weeks in hiding.
The dentist arrived at work at 07:00 local time where a throng of media and a few protesters awaited him.
Employees were seen escorting Walter Palmer and patients into the surgery, as photographers swarmed the office.
In recent interviews, Walter Palmer has claimed that the hunt was legal and that he was shocked to hear the animal was famous.
Police were present as Walter Palmer parked his vehicle on a nearby street and walked into his office in Bloomington, Minnesota. A staff member clutched his arm as the pair pushed past a group of journalists.
One woman could be heard screaming “Extradite Palmer!”
Walter Palmer, 55, did not speak to the media on September 8, but did give an interview to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on September 6.
“I need to get back to treating my patients,” Walter Palmer said.
“My staff and my patients support me, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”
The killing of Cecil in July prompted a global uproar, which Walter Palmer has claimed led to “some safety issues” for his family.
Walter Palmer’s clinic and his home in nearby Eden Prairie became the site of protests, and his holiday home in Florida was vandalized.
Police did not consider the protesters.
Walter Palmer is believed to have been paid $50,000 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve, but he says he was unaware it was so famous.
“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.”
Cecil was well known in the Hwange National Park and was being tracked with a GPS collar as part of a research program run by Oxford University.
The Zimbabwe’s safari organization has said the way in which Cecil was lured out of a national park was unethical and possibly illegal.
Initially, Zimbabwe sought to charge and extradite Walter Palmer, but the government’s interest in him has waned in recent weeks.
The Associated Press reported that government officials fear it could hamper a hunting industry that is lucrative and important for Zimbabwe.
Cecil the lion may be commemorated by a bronze statue at the entrance to Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park in, where he lived, a Zimbabwe conservation group has announced.
The lion’s death prompted worldwide outrage after being killed by American dentist Walter Palmer.
Zimbabwe is now seeking Walter Palmer’s extradition.
Cecil’s death made headlines around the world, and sent Walter Palmer into hiding.
The famous lion was killed outside Hwange park using a bow and arrow. Walter Palmer says he thought the hunt was legal but two Zimbabwean men have been arrested over the killing.
Cheryl Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said people had already offered donations for the sculpture – the cost of which has not yet been confirmed.
She said: “Cecil was such an icon and it’s created such a fuss everywhere we thought it would be nice to do it.”
The Conservation Task Force has commissioned John Binder of Birds for Africa to make the statue and said it would be an “excellent reminder to all who visit the park”.
John Binder, a metal sculptor for 24 years, said he was “a little bit thunderstruck” to be asked and when his wife Debbie found out she nearly fell over.
“There’s a hell of a lot of pressure,” he said.
John Binder called Cecil’s death “crazy, stupid” and down to “sheer greed”, but added: “We are going to have to be detached from the emotion and get on with the job.”
His previous work includes statues of a pride of lions at a private game lodge in South Africa.
Oxford University had been studying Cecil for lion conservation and John Binder said he was hoping researchers could tell him how much the lion weighed and his dimensions to make the sculpture as realistic as possible.
Cheryl Rodrigues said it was not clear whether a permit would be needed from the park for the statue to be placed at the entrance.
Some have criticized the plan, telling the organization on their Facebook page that it would be more beneficial to use the money to counter corruption and improve conservation.
This is not the only legacy project afoot for the 13-year-old animal renowned for being friendly towards visitors.
Earlier this week the conservation group’s chairman Johnny Rodrigues suggested Cecil’s head be mounted in a glass case.
A second American, named as Jan Casmir Sieski, is wanted in Zimbabwe over the illegal killing of a lion, as the outcry over the death of famous Cecil the lion continues.
Jan Casmir Sieski, a doctor from Pennsylvania, killed a lion in April, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said.
A Zimbabwean landowner has since been arrested, the agency said.
Cecil the lion was shot illegally in July by American dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota. Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition.
The National Parks authority gave little information on the new case, but said on August 2 that the killing of the lion had taken place without a permit.
It said the hunt had been arranged by a Zimbabwean man who owned a safari company.
The authority said in a statement that it had agreed to “undertake an industry-wide investigation to crack down and weed out any illegal hunting activities”, but it was not clear if the latest case had emerged from that investigation.
A Pennsylvania address said to be Jan Casmir Sieski’s was listed in the latest release, but no further details have emerged.
Walter Palmer is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt Cecil, a major tourist attraction in the Hwange National Park.
The dentist says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
There has been a huge online backlash against Walter Palmer.
The dental practice Walter Palmer runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the hunter who shot Cecil.
American dentist Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, should be extradited to face charges, Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.
His extradition was being sought so that he could “be held accountable for his illegal action,” she said.
Walter Palmer, from Minnesota, is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion.
He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
At a news conference in the capital, Harare, Oppah Muchinguri referred to Walter Palmer as a “foreign poacher”.
“As we frantically try to protect our wildlife from organized gangs such as this one, there are people… who can connive to undermine Zimbabwean laws,” she said.
“One can conclude with confidence that Dr Palmer, being an American citizen, had a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA,” Oppah Muchinguri added.
She also said Walter Palmer’s use of a bow and arrow against Cecil was in contravention of Zimbabwean hunting regulations, Reuters reports.
Two Zimbabwean men have been implicated in the death of the lion.
A professional hunter has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt – which he denies – and prosecutors are deciding on the exact charges the landowner should face.
There has been a huge online backlash against Walter Palmer. The dental practice he runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the hunter who shot Cecil.
On July 30, the White House said it would review a public petition to extradite the American dentist after more than 100,000 signed it.
However, spokesman Josh Earnest said it was up to the DoJ to respond to any extradition order.
Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has apologized to his patients in Minnesota for the disruption caused by the anger directed at him.
His dental practice in Minneapolis has been closed since the dentist was named as the tourist who shot Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion.
Two Zimbabwean men have been charged over the death and local police say Walter Palmer may also face poaching charges.
The American dentist says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
In a letter sent to his “valued” patients on July 28, Walter Palmer said he had been in the news “for reasons that have nothing to do with my profession or the care I provide for you”.
He described himself as a “life-long hunter” but said he rarely discussed his passion with patients “because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic”.
Echoing an earlier statement, Walter Palmer insisted that he thought the hunt was legal and said he would assist authorities in Zimbabwe or the US in their inquiries.
Cecil, who was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve in Hwange National Park, is believed to have died on July 1, but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
Walter Palmer is said to have shot and injured the animal with a bow and arrow. The wounded lion was not found until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The lion was later skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters had tried to destroy it but failed, according to the ZCTF.
Walter Palmer’s dental practice has closed its website and social media accounts since his identity was revealed after thousands of people flooded them with angry comments.
A protest was held outside the building on July 29.
About 100 protesters, both adults and children, stood around holding posters that had messages like “Justice for Cecil”, “Trophy hunters are cowards” and “Prosecute poachers”.
Protesters chanted “Extradite! Extradite!” Walter Palmer was nowhere to be seen.
Two women from the Minneapolis-based Animals Rights Coalition said they organized the protest to raise awareness about animal cruelty.
On July 29, professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to a charge of “failing to prevent an unlawful hunt” at a court in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
Theo Bronkhorst was granted bail of $1,000 and ordered to appear in court again on August 5. His co-accused – farm owner Honest Ndlovu – will appear at a later date.
Walter Palmer is believed to have paid about $50,000 to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.
He is well known in the American hunting community. In 2006, he was found guilty of killing a black bear outside an authorized zone in the state of Wisconsin and lying to authorities about it. He was fined $3,000.
Walter Palmer has visited Zimbabwe for hunting trips in the past and one image posted online in 2010 shows him posing with a leopard he killed.
Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who is accused of helping American dentist Walter Palmer kill Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions, has been released on bail.
Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to a charge of “failing to prevent an unlawful hunt”. He was granted bail of $1,000 and ordered to appear in court again on August 5.
His co-accused – farm owner Honest Ndlovu – will appear at a later date.
Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil the lion, has left Zimbabwe but could also face charges.
The American dentist said he paid for the hunt, but was not aware of the lion’s identity.
Walter Palmer said he regretted shooting the animal, and believed he was on a legal hunt. He had relied on professional guides to find a lion and obtain the necessary permits, he added.
Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Cecil is believed to have died on July 1st, but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
Walter Palmer is said to have shot and injured Cecil with a bow and arrow. The wounded lion was found 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
Separately, court records have shown that Walter Palmer has a felony record in the US after killing a black bear in the state of Wisconsin in 2006.
Walter Palmer was given a one-year probation and fined $3,000, having shot the creature outside an authorized zone and then tried to pass it off as having been killed elsewhere.
He is believed to have paid about $50,000 to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.
More than 400,000 people have signed an online “Justice for Cecil” petition, calling on Zimbabwe’s government to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered animals.
Walter Palmer insists that he believed his guides had secured “all proper permits” for the hunt.
“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said in a statement on July 28.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”
Walter Palmer said he had not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or the US but would “assist them in any inquiries they may have”.
The dentist is believed to be back in the US, although his exact whereabouts are unknown.
His dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota, has been temporarily closed and a note placed on the door referring visitors to a public relations firm. A protest is due to be held outside the building later.
The practice’s social media accounts have also been disabled, after they were flooded with messages from angry members of the public.
Cecil the lion was skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity.
The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.
Cecil had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters had tried to destroy it but failed, according to the ZCTF.
Walter Palmer is under heavy criticism from conservationists and animal lovers following allegations that he paid $50,000 to go on a hunt in Zimbabwe.
The American dentist was identified on July 28 by The Telegraph as the hunter who paid $50,000 to kill Cecil the lion, one of Africa’s most famous lions, earlier this month.
In Zimbabwe, hunters can pay $50,000 to kill a trophy lion.
Zimbabwean police are searching for Walter Palmer, who shot the protected lion with a crossbow, the Associated Press reported.
After The Telegraph’s report that Walter Palmer was responsible for Cecil’s death, his name quickly started trending worldwide on Twitter.
Users are also sharing several photos from Walter Palmer’s other hunts. They also tweeted death threats and began sharing the contact information for Walter Palmer’s dental practice, River Bluff Dental.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for “justice” has already been signed by more than 12,000 people.
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