After six weeks of staying quiet and out of sight, dentist Walter Palmer, the hunter who killed Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion, gave his first substantial interview saying he plans to return to work and no one has contacted him about either charges or extradition.
Palmer gave a joint interview to Associated Press and the Minnesota Star Tribune saying he would not do further interviews
The dentist, an avid hunter who has gotten into trouble before for illegally hunting a bear and reportedly has a trophy room of his past kills, gained notoriety after a British newspaper named him as the man who killed Cecil the Lion.
The outrage over the killing sparked an international conversation about trophy hunting and airlines announced they would no longer allow trophy hunts to be taken back to the country of hunters using their planes.
Palmer said he had not known the lion he stalked, hunted and shot with a bow and arrow was considered Zimbabwe’s most famous lion and was being tracked by British researchers.
At the height of the attention focused on Palmer, some Zimbabwe officials had called for his extradition. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife had also gotten involved asking Palmer to get in touch with them. A petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures called on the U.S. to extradite Palmer to Zimbabwe.
In the interview, Palmer said he has not heard anything for either U.S. or international authorities since early August.
He gave some details about the killing of Cecil the Lion saying he wounded the lion, tracked it and finished it off with another arrow in far less time than the 40 hours cited in earlier news accounts.
After weeks away from his practice and causing disruption to his neighbours and his staff, Palmer said he felt it was time to return to work.
“My staff and my patients support me and they want me back.
Palmer did not say where he has been living for the last six weeks after he left his home as well as his office.
“I’ve been out of the public eye. That doesn’t mean I’m in hiding,” Palmer said. “I’ve been among people, family and friends. Location is really not that important.
Theo Bronkhorst, the guide who was with Palmer during the hunting of Cecil the Lion has been charged, with “failure to prevent an illegal hunt.”
Asked whether he would return to Zimbabwe for future hunts, Palmer said he didn’t know but added he had been to the country four times.
“Zimbabwe has been a wonderful country for me to hunt in, and I have always followed the laws.