Man accused in African lion death thought hunt was legal

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) – An avid Minnesota hunter accused of illegally killing a protected lion in Zimbabwe says he believed everything about his trip was legal.

Walter Palmer released a statement Tuesday saying he hired professional guides for his Zimbabwe bow-hunting trip and had no idea “until the end of the hunt” that the lion was a well-known animal being studied.

Palmer, a suburban Minneapolis dentist, says he regrets the hunt resulted in the lion’s death.

Authorities in Zimbabwe say he’s facing poaching charges. Palmer says he hasn’t been contacted by U.S. or Zimbabwean authorities.

In the U.S., Palmer has a 2008 federal conviction related to shooting a black bear in Wisconsin. Court documents say he had a permit but shot a bear outside an authorized zone, then tried to pass it off as being killed elsewhere.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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