Cecil the lion killer breaks silence

MINNESOTA - The US dentist who sparked an international outcry after killing a lion in Zimbabwe has said he did nothing wrong and is planning to return to work this week.

Speaking in his first interview since the July killing of Cecil the lion, Walter Palmer said he had been unaware of the animal's significance.

He also revealed that there had been "some safety issues" for his family.

Zimbabwean has said it wishes to extradite and prosecute Mr Palmer.

Walter Palmer faced a huge backlash online over his killing of Cecil the lion.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the incident, he told the Associated Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had acted legally, but said that if he had known who the animal was he would not have killed it.

"If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn't have taken it," Mr Palmer said. "Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion."

The Minnesota dentist admitted that he wounded the lion with an arrow but denied that it had subsequently taken 40 hours to track down and kill it. He also denied claims by the Zimbabwean authorities that it had been killed by a gun, saying that an arrow had been used.

The 55-year-old is believed to have paid $50,000 (£32,000) to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe's largest game reserve.

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