Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who stirred up international outrage after shooting and killing a beloved African lion on a hunting trip in July, will not face any criminal charges for the killing.
Sky News reports that Zimbabwe officials have determined Palmer had registered all required paperwork and that the hunt, which culminated in the shooting of Cecil the Lion, was legal.
"We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order," Zimbabwean Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said in a statement Monday.
Palmer, 55, who faced protests and a thoroughly disfigured Yelp page, maintained that he had followed all legal requirements in his lone media interview with his hometown paper, the Minnesota Star-Tribune, in September.
“Everything was done properly," Palmer told the Star-Tribune. "This was a legal hunt for a lion in Zimbabwe. And because of the professionalism of the people who had to help him, a lion was taken.”
His comments to the paper added to a previous statement, released just after the killing, in which Palmer stated that he "had no idea that the lion [he] took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt." Experts have cast doubt on that part; regardless, Palmer apparently will not face a trial or charges for the incident.
Following backlash, Palmer briefly shut down his Minnesota dental practice in July. He reopened it in September, telling the Star-Tribune that "my staff and my patients support me, and they want me back."