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A Minnesota dentist’s hunting trip has now caused the temporary closure of his practice and has made him one of the most disdained people in the world.
Now Dr. Walter Palmer is writing a letter explaining his side of the hunt that killed a beloved lion in Africa, and thanking his patients for their support.
Palmer, according to the letter posted to KMSP’s website, said that hunting is one of his passions.
He continued by saying that, “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.”
He told his patients that the media’s coverage, as well as calls and comments from people who are angry about the death of Cecil, have disrupted his business and that he hopes to “resume normal operations as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, animal lovers across the country are striking out against Palmer and his dental practice, posting reviews on River Bluff Dental’s Yelp page.
One famous name that commented on the hunt is Jimmy Kimmel, who broke down during his monologue Tuesday night.
So far, two men have been arrested and charged with the death of Cecil the lion.
According to CNN, Theo Bronchorst, a professional hunter, and Honest Ndlouv, a landowner, were charged with poaching.
They face up to 10 years in prison.
Palmer has not been charged, but admits that he paid about $50,000 to hunt. Bronchorst and Ndlouv are said to have baited the 13-year-old lion out of a protective park.
Palmer admitting to shooting the lion with a crossbow, but Cecil survived the wound. Bronchorst and Ndlouv found Cecil 40 hours later and shot him with a gun, CNN reported. They skinned and beheaded the lion after they found him, the authorities alleged.
They also tried to destroy a GPS collar that Cecil wore as part of research by Oxford University, CNN reported.
Cecil’s death has animal activists calling on the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, to ban the trophy hunting of animals.
An online petition has been started that calls for justice for Cecil and for the country to stop issuing permits to kill endangered animals.
Organizers of the petition are trying to get 600,000 online signatures.