(NEW YORK) — The Minnesota dentist who became the focus of worldwide outrage for killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe reopened his practice for the first time Monday after closing late last month in the wake of the controversy.
A statement from River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, Minnesota, said that Dr. Walter Palmer “is not on site.” A security guard has also been posted outside the practice.
Since Palmer acknowledged that he had killed the beloved lion, critics have regularly staged protests outside the dental office.
Palmer, a big game hunter, gained international notoriety last month after killing the 13-year-old lion.
The incident sparked global outrage, including personal death threats against the dentist and calls from the Zimbabwe government for his extradition. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened its own investigation.
Palmer reportedly paid two guides $50,000 to arrange the early July hunt. The guides allegedly lured Cecil out of an animal sanctuary in Hwange National Park into an area in which hunting is legal.
“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,” Palmer said in a statement last month. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
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