Dr. Walter Palmer has been in hiding since his public statement on Tuesday
Credit: Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit/AP

A representative of Dr. Walter Palmer – the Minnesota dentist who ignited international controversy after killing the Zimbabwe lion Cecil by allegedly baiting him out of a national park one night in July – contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement late Thursday afternoon, PEOPLE has confirmed.

“The Service’s investigation is ongoing and appreciates that Dr. Palmer’s representative voluntarily reached out to the Service,” spokesperson Vanessa C. Kauffman told PEOPLE.

Zimbabwe officials are seeking to extradite Palmer “so that he be made accountable,” according to Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister.

Palmer has said in previous statements that he thought the hunt was legal; and that he did not know Cecil “was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”

“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer wrote. “That was never my intention.”

Palmer has not been charged with a crime.


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