Walter Palmer: US dentist who shot Cecil the lion apologises – to his patients

In a letter written to his 'valued' patients Walter Palmer insists he thought the hunt was legal

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The Independent Online

The American dentist who shot Zimbabwe’s favourite lion has again apologised for his actions - this time to his patients.

Walter Palmer’s dental surgery in Minneapolis, Minnesota has been closed after it was revealed he shot Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow.

Cecil is believed to have been left wounded for 40 hours before finally being shot with a gun.

In a letter to his “valued” patients on Tuesday he apologised for the “disruption” and insisted he believed the hunt was legal.

He wrote in the letter, which was seen by local TV station KMSP: “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. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the US about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.

"Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion. That was never my intention."

It comes as the website and social media accounts attached to his practice were shut down after a barrage of angry messages.

Outraged animal lovers gave his business 5,000 one star ratings in response to the killing with one saying Mr Palmer has “singlehandedly ruined [his] own business”.

A protest by Minneapolis animal rights protesters was held outside his office in the city on Wednesday and participants left stuffed animals in a tribute to Cecil outside the practice doors.

The dentist is now believed to be in hiding.

Two Zimbabwean men have appeared in court charged with poaching in connection with the case. They could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Dr Palmer has not been charged with any offence.

The damage to the local economy could be significant a wildlife conservationist has warned.

 

Jeff Flocken said: "He was an animal that was sought out by tourists, who came there, spent money and brought revenue which is so needed in so many of these African countries - to see and take pictures of the animal.

"Now after this one tremendously unnecessary death that revenue can't come in any more."

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