(NEW YORK) — Walter Palmer, the American dentist who admitted to killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, recently sent out a letter to the patients of River Bluff Dental, his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice that remained closed with the shades down as of Wednesday afternoon.
Palmer’s letter to his patients sent via email Tuesday night began by explaining his hobby of hunting, which he referred to as “one of my passions outside dentistry.”
“To my valued patients: As you may have already heard, I have been in the news over the last few days for reasons that have nothing to do with my profession or the care I provide for you,” he wrote. “I’ve been a life-long hunter since I was a child growing up in North Dakota. I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic. I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.”
Palmer then explained his involvement in the killing of Cecil the lion, almost exactly worded like the statement he released Tuesday. He explained he was in Zimbabwe during early July on a bow hunting trip for big game and that he “hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits.”
He continued, “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. 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 U.S. 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,” he added. “That was never my intention.”
A small, growing memorial to Cecil remained outside Palmer’s dental office today including stuffed animals, a flower, and a sign that read, “You are a coward and a killer! :-(“
Palmer also explained he was receiving a “substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general,” that “disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients.”
He apologized for the inconvenience, adding that “we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible” and that they were working with patients with immediate needs to be referred to other dentists.
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