Walter Palmer I Wouldn't Have Killed Cecil ... If I Knew Who He Was

9/7/2015 6:00 AM PDT

Walter Palmer -- I Wouldn't Have Killed Cecil ... If I Knew Who He Was

Breaking News

Walter Palmer had no idea he was stalking a famous animal when he tracked and killed Cecil the Lion -- and claims that would have made all the difference to him.

The vilified Minnesota dentist spoke out for the first time since the killing and told the AP, "If I had know this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn't have taken it."

Palmer disputed accounts that Cecil wandered wounded for 40 hours -- claiming it was instead just one day. He says he killed the lion with a bow and arrow. He refused to discuss how much he paid for the hunt. 

Protesters surrounded Palmer's dental office for several weeks after he was outed as Cecil's assassin -- but Palmer says he's finally going back to work on Tuesday.