Dentist who killed Cecil the lion, sparking international outrage, returns to work

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion and caused an international outrage, returned to work on Tuesday, six weeks after he was identified as Cecil’s killer.

“I’m a health professional,” Palmer told The Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a weekend interview. “I need to get back to my staff and my patients, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”

Palmer’s dentist office in Bloomington, Minn. has been opened for several weeks, but he continued to keep a low profile and didn’t return to work after the media attacked him for animal cruelty, CNN reported.

“This has been especially hard on my wife and my daughter,” he told the AP and Star Tribune. “They’ve been threatened in the social media, and again … I don’t understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved at all.”

Bloomington police department said it will be keeping an eye on the office with a security camera but will not have officers stationed outside of it.

The public has been attacking Palmer after he shot Cecil, a lion part of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, in July and posed in pictures with his dead carcass. British media identified Palmer as the killer. That’s when the public outrage began.

The death of Cecil the lion generated immense international response. The story quickly became a trending topic on social media, with the hashtag #WalterPalmer. Celebrities such as model Cara Delevingne and TV host Sharon Osborne went on Instagram and Twitter voice their outrage.

In August, two documentary makers honored Cecil the lion in their light display on the side of the Empire State Building dedicated to drawing awareness to endangered species around the world.