Walter Palmer Has Finally Given His First Interview About Cecil the Lion

Source: AP
Source: AP

Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who infamously shot and killed Zimbabwe's famous Cecil the lion in July, has given what he says will be his first and only interview.

"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," Palmer told the Associated Press. "Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion."

In a 20-minute session with two reporters from the Star Tribune and Associated Press, Palmer mainly avoided specific questions about the circumstances of Cecil's death and said he would be returning to his dental practice soon to serve the needs of his patients and staff.

Palmer reiterated that he didn't know the lion he slew was Cecil, a major tourist attraction at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, or that the hunt in which he was partaking was illegal. Palmer also said accounts of Cecil's suffering were exaggerated and that the hunt was humane.

Palmer said he was "heartbroken" at the level of online and offline hate he received after news of Cecil's death hit international news, adding that the threats scared his family.

"This has been especially hard on my wife and my daughter. They've been threatened in the social media, and again [...] I don't understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved," Palmer said. "I've been out of the public eye. That doesn't mean I'm in hiding.

"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."

According to Palmer and his legal adviser, Joe Friedberg, Palmer did not break any laws and they have not heard from any authorities about investigations into Cecil's death. The Associated Press reports two individuals involved in the hunt who reside in Zimbabwe, Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, have been charged with illegal hunting-related offenses.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.