While protesters gather outside Walter J. Palmer’s Bloomington, Minn., dental practice, the dentist responsible for killing Cecil the Lion has been busy penning a note to patients, apologizing for the disruption and claiming he didn’t realize he was in the wrong.
“Everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he explained to patients in the letter, which was obtained by Fox9. Palmer, who maintains he has yet to be contacted by authorities, went on to say that he “had no idea that the lion [he] took was a known, local favorite, [or] was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt." He added that he “relied on the expertise of [his] local professional guides,” whom, as previously reported, he allegedly paid $55,000 to hunt the lion. (According to NBC News, the guides, Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, could also face poaching charges and, if found guilty, 10 years in jail.)
"Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion," Dr. Palmer concluded to his patients. "That was never my intention."
PETA, however, has no sympathy for the hunter.
“Hunting is a coward’s pastime,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement to Us Weekly. “If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.”