The end of July proved to be a sad time in the hearts of many animal lovers. Cecil the Lion was lured away from his reservation and illegally killed in a hunt that cost a Minnesotan dentist/hunter around $55K. There are many different opinions based around the death of Cecil, but you cannot ignore the simple statistics. People keep asking why we at Arm the Animals are all making such a big deal about Cecil, since he was only one lion. Simple math and statistics will show you that with only 10,000 lions left, it would be the equivalent of losing 700,000 people.
Even without the statistics in the forefront of the debate, the death of this jungle cat gained huge momentum thanks to social media, receiving the attention of such animal enthusiasts as Mia Farrow, Rick Gervais, Aaron Paul, Judd Apatow and many more. On July 28th, Jimmy Kimmel used his limelight to give a tearful and heartfelt plea about rather than forming a witch hunt for the infamous dentist, that people’s energy should be put into better use:
"It should be handled in a lawful way. And the men who took him out in the Jeep should be made accountable, too, but in the meantime, I think it's important to have some good come out of this disgusting tragedy," Kimmel said. "If you want to do something -- if you want to make this into a positive, you can, uh, sorry," he said, getting choked up. "OK, I'm good. Make a donation. Support them. At the very least, maybe we can show the world that not all Americans are like this jack-hole here."
And that is exactly what the animal supporters around the world did.
According to the Atlantic, Cecil the lion’s death last month has resulted in donations of more than $858,000 to the Oxford University-based Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. Nearly 12,000 people have contributed, including American philanthropists and conservationists Tom and Daphne Kaplan, who pledged to match donations up to $100,000.
Another advocate for the animals came about in air travel. Many airlines, including American Airlines , Delta Airlines and United Airlines, have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters. According to Reuters, nearly 400,000 people signed a Change.org petition that was started by a Delta customer calling for the airline to stop transporting exotic hunting trophies, the organization said. Although most animals are sent by ship, the bans will make it harder for hunters to get their trophies home to put above the mantelpiece, dealing a blow to Africa's multi-million-dollar game industry.
At Arm the Animals, the tragedy of Cecil the Lion has angered us all, so we also wanted to do something about it. We created a Special Edition Cecil Commemorative design based on our Earth Day Lion and all of the net proceeds from the sale of this design went directly to the ZCTF, or the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, the organization protecting Cecil's home turf. Because of everyone’s love for Cecil and support, we were able to raise $10,000 in one week to
give to this task force. Our goal is to help to aid the ZCTF so that they will gain more resources to be sure that another lion will never be hunted for sport again.
The death of Cecil was sudden and tragic; however, it does not have to be in vain. His downfall gained international attention for the welfare of these exotic animals being hoarded as trophies for a mantle. If this many people came together in two weeks to change policies of major corporations and raise massive donations for these animals, there is no telling what we can accomplish in the future.