A small group of protesters yelled, "Extradite Palmer!" as a security guard escorted Walter Palmer into his dental practice on Tuesday
Credit: Eric Miller/Reuters/Landov

The Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion returned to his small dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Tuesday, and was met by a crowd of media and protesters.

A group of protesters called for Walter Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe to face trial as a security guard escorted him past the demonstrators and into River Bluff Dental, according to the Associated Press.

Palmer spent weeks in hiding following the death of the lion, who he killed with a bow and arrow during a hunt in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park in July.

The death of the beloved lion sparked international outrage, but Palmer has long held that he did not know that killing the animal was illegal. In his first in-person interview since the animal’s death, he defended the hunt to the Star Tribune and the AP.

“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,” he said

While the lion’s death has made the dentist infamous both nationally and globally, he told the Tribune that he’s ready to get back to work.

“I have a lot of staff members, and I’m a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives,” he said.

Police blocked off traffic on Tuesday, as a handful of protesters waited near the practice for Palmer.

“We’re not picking on [Palmer’s] staff or his family, We’re picking on him,” Cathy Pierce, of East Bethel, told the AP. “We want him to know that we’re not going to forget.”

Pierce was among the protesters yelling, “Extradite Palmer!” as he entered his practice. She said she drove to the Bloomington clinic to “fight for animals who can’t fight for themselves,” the AP reports.

Last month, Zimbabwe officials announced that paperwork for Palmer’s extradition as a result of the hunt would be processed. However, the AP reports that a police spokeswoman in Harare, Zimbabwe said there are no new developments in the case.