Cecil the lion has been a favourite with tourists.
Cecil the lion has been a favourite with tourists.

Dentist who killed Cecil the lion plans return to work

THE American dentist who killed Zimbabwe's much-loved lion, Cecil, plans to be back at work this week and claims he did nothing wrong.

Walter J Palmer met with two reporters in Mineeapolis this week for his first interview since Cecil was killed with a compound bow in a safari hunt in early July.

The actions of the 55-year-old dentist sparked global outrage with many calling for him to be extradited back to Zimbabwe to be charged with the crime.

But he told reporters he hadn't been charged  and the hunt was legal.

He said he and other party members had no clue the 13-year old lion with a black beard was a national icon.

Buderim's Jim Johnson knew Cecil was something special when on a tour in Zimbabwe last year and heard the guards talk about a lion they had bothered to name.

He told the Daily in August he hoped Mr Palmer would be extradited and "the full force of the law" came down on him.

Mr Palmer said he hoped to get his professional and personal life back on track.

"I have a lot of staff members, and I'm a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives," he told the reporters.

"And I'm a health professional. I need to get back to my staff and my patients, and they want me back. That's why I'm back."