cecil the lion zimbabwe CC vince o'sullivan

On July 2, Cecil, a 13-year-old male Southwest African lion, was killed in a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe.

A main attraction at the Hwange National Park, Cecil was shot with a cross bow by an American dentist who was led by a licensed local game-hunter.

sunset African Masai-angela7dreams-CC-FlickrWhether he believed he had the proper permit or not, people around the world were horrified and began signing a Care2 petition, which led to significant victories for animal rights groups, as well as creative tributes to the lion.

Before the petition gained traction, most people outside Zimbabwe had no idea that Cecil existed.

Within 24 hours, the black-maned cat’s death was an international news topic and the petition has since gained more than one million signatures.

“The petition demanding justice for Cecil was the fastest growing petition Care2 has ever seen in our 17 year history. It absolutely took off and this topic clearly resonated with people worldwide,” said Care2 CEO Randy Paynter.

As a result, trophy hunting was officially suspended in Cecil’s home country, Zimbabwe.

Additionally, Zimbabwe has suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the area where Cecil was killed, until further notice, the country’s wildlife authority said Saturday. tiger-cub-triplet-ColumbusZooTyoutube

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On Friday, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez announced that he will be introducing a bill in Congress, the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act (CECIL), to curb the sport killing by Americans of species that are proposed to be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

United-airline-ticket-counter-company-releaseOther good news has announced by three major airlines, who have banned the transportation of buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, or rhino “trophies.”

American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta have all implemented this new policy, effective immediately.

Heartwarming tributes have surfaced as well, like the TY Beanie Baby company’s new Cecil the Lion, created in memory of the beloved cat.

Ty Warner introduces Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby

Ty has pledged 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in England.

“Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil,”  said Ty Warner.

Also on the topic, Aaron Blaise, an animator who worked on Disney’s Lion King, created a speed paint tribute video in honor of Cecil.

“As you may be able to tell I am a HUGE animal lover and it drives me crazy when I see these beautiful creatures destroyed for no good reason,” Blaise wrote.

“In fact, I’ve decided to get personally involved and hopefully our efforts can help educate people and prevent these horrible things from happening in the future. It’s not much, but hopefully it will make people think.”

Photos: CC Vince O’Sullivan, angela7dreams.

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