Facts about Minnesota Dentist Walter Palmer

Walter Palmer, a 55-year-old man behind an international firestorm after he paid money to go to Zimbabwe in order to kill a lion. We know Palmer killed not just any lion, but Cecil the lion, the famous and beloved lion that everyone loved in Zimbabwe. The Twin Cities ended up in the middle of this firestorm since Palmer is a dentist in the Minneapolis, MN, area, and now more facts are coming out about this dentist, and his questionable practices. Here are the facts we know now about Palmer, some of which might seem a bit disturbing.


Palmer graduated from the University of Minnesota dental school, although he is originally from North Dakota. Palmer also is a married man with two children and lives in the Twin Cities area. A neighbor said that him and his wife are very private people.

Palmer practices in Bloomington, MN, and he does both general and cosmetic dentistry. After the entire story unfolded and the outrage began, Palmer closed his practice with a note left behind on the building telling everyone to call a Minneapolis-based public relations firm.

Back in 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty to federal charges relating to poaching a black bear in Winsconsin two years previously in 2006. Palmer had killed the black bear 40 miles outside of the legal hunting zone. Palmer and other people had then transported the bear to a registration station which was in an area inside the legal zone, obviously knowing what he did was wrong and was trying to cover it up. Palmer then ended up being charged with a crime, got one year of probation, and was fined almost $3.000.

Back in 2003, Palmer was convicted of a misdemeanor after fishing without a license in Otter Tail County, which is in Western Minnesota.

In 2009, Palmer had settled with the Minnesota Board of Dentistry over an allegation he sexually harassed a receptionist. The woman alleged Palmer made comments about her breasts, butt, and vagina. Palmer did not admit guilt but decided to pay $127,500 to the woman, and interestingly enough, the woman was also a patient of his. The settlement did reference his bear-hunting conviction, and also his substandard record keeping.

Palmer is a member of the trophy hunting organization known as Safari Club International, with the listing showing he has 43 skills. Some of the kills include a mountain lion, polar bear, buffalo, deer, moose, and a caribou. The Safari Club International announced they had suspended the membership of Palmer on Wednesday after he killed Cecil the lion, and they also suspended his Zimbabwe-based guide. Palmer also has hunting licenses and fishing licenses in Minnesota, Florida, and Alaska, according to state records.

Palmer is a man that likes to brag, at least it seems like it, since he told the New York Times he can hit a playing card from 100 yards out with his compound bow, and he brings guns on his trips as a backup. Palmer was mentioned in a 2009 New York Times article where the reporters talked about Palmer killing an elk with a bow and arrow in California, which was almost record size.

An official in Zimbabwe wants to see Palmer extradited to face criminal charges over the illegal killing of Cecil the lion, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been in contact with Palmer and is investigating the killing. As of now, no charges have been filed, but it appears with Palmer’s record, he is a man that is downright cruel and knew what he was doing. What we know about Palmer might be what ends up getting him in criminal trouble, and could be used to show a pattern of illegal behavior.

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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.