The dentist who caused international outrage after killing the beloved Zimbabwe lion, Cecil, sent a letter to his patients on July 28, stating his regrets and reiterating he “had no idea” his actions during the hunting trip earlier this month would be so detrimental.
Someone who claims to be one of his patients sent the letter below to BoingBoing, in which the Minnesota dentist expresses his love for hunting and apologizes to his patients for the “inconvenience.”
"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"
Palmer’s dental practice, River Bluff Dental, was closed on July 28 and a staff member told KSMP it is likely to remain that way for the rest of the week. River Bluff Dental’s website and Facebook page have both been taken down.
Since the news of Cecil’s death, forms of backlash have broken out against the dentist and his practice’s Yelp page has been bombarded with negative reviews and hateful messages.
An array of stuffed animals was left at the office’s doorstep and a protest by local Animal Rights Coalition took place on July 29, reports KMSP.