Cecil the Lion Killer Sends Letter to Dental Patients: "I Apologize Profoundly for This Inconvenience"

Brent Stapelkamp

"I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic."

The hatred against Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed the famous Zimbabwe lion named Cecil, has gone viral and consequentially Palmer has had to temporarily close his practice.

Palmer reportedly paid $55,000 to professional guides who then lured Cecil out of the national park where he lived so that Palmer could shoot him with a crossbow, track him for 40 hours, kill him and behead him. 

For his actions, the trophy hunter has been inundated with criticism on Yelp, in social media and on late night shows. He sent a letter apologizing to his patients for the effect this has had on his dental practice. 

"The media interest in this matter — along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general — has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients," writes Palmer in a letter obtained by Minneapolis' Fox 9. "For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible."

Palmer reiterates that he thought the trip was legal, "had no idea" that the lion he took was a "local favorite," and that he in essence blames his guides for the incident.

He says the hunt has "nothing to do" with his profession or the care he provides his patients. 

"I’ve been a life-long hunter since I was a child growing up in North Dakota," writes Palmer. "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."

Here is the letter in its entirety.

"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. I want you to know of this situation and my involvement In addition to spending time with my family, one of my passions outside dentistry is hunting. 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.

In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. 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. That was never my intention. The media interest in this matter – along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general – has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients. For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible. We are working to have patients with immediate needs referred to other dentists and will keep you informed of any additional developments. On behalf of all of us at River Bluff Dental, thank you for your support.

Sincerely, Walter J. Palmer, DDS River Bluff Dental"

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