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The petition has now closed. You can see the result  here.

Cecil the Lion

Cecil, a well-known male lion, living in Hwange Game Reserve, in Zimbabwe was lured away from the sanctuary of the park and killed by an illegal party of big game hunters on 01 July 2015, according to the Zimbabwean government.

The hunter who killed the lion was identified by conservation groups as American Dr. Walter James Palmer, a dentist in Minneapolis.

Cecil (c. 2002 – 1 July 2015) was a male Southwest African lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) who primarily lived in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe and was 13 years old when he was killed. He was a major attraction at the park and was being studied and tracked by the University of Oxford as part of a larger study.

Cecil was wounded with an arrow by Walter Palmer, an American recreational big-game hunter, was then tracked, and on 01 July 2015, approximately 40 hours later, killed with a rifle. The killing drew international media attention and sparked outrage among animal conservationists, politicians and celebrities, as well as a strong negative response against Palmer. Two other men are being prosecuted in relation to the hunt, and the Zimbabwean government has stated it will seek Palmer's extradition.


Cecil — named after Cecil Rhodes — and another lion believed to be Cecil's brother were noticed in Hwange National Park in 2008. In 2009, Cecil and his brother encountered an established pride, which resulted in a fight in which Cecil's brother was killed and both Cecil and the leader of the pride were seriously wounded; the leader was subsequently killed by park rangers because of the wounds he had received in the fight with Cecil. Cecil retreated to another part of the park where he eventually established his own pride which had up to 22 members. In 2013, Cecil was forced out from the area by two young male lions into the eastern border of the park. There, he created a coalition with another male lion named Jericho to establish two prides which consisted of Cecil, Jericho, half a dozen females and up to a dozen cubs sired by Cecil or Jericho.

Cecil in 2010

Cecil was the best-known animal in the national park and was identifiable by his black-fringed mane and a GPS tracking collar. The lions in the park, including Cecil, have been studied by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University as part of a scientific project that has run since 1999, and his movements had been followed since 2008. Of the 62 lions tagged during the study period, 34 have died, thereof 24 through sport hunting. Of adult male lions that were tagged inside the park, 72% were killed through sport hunting on areas near the park. One of the researchers on the project suggested that Cecil had become so popular because he was accustomed to people, allowing vehicles sometimes as close as 10 metres (33 ft), making it easy for tourists and researchers to photograph and observe him.

It is estimated there are around 25-30 thousand lions alive in Africa. In 2013, 49 hunted lion carcasses were exported from Zimbabwe as trophies; the 2005-2008 Zimbabwe hunt "off-take" (licensed kills) average was 42 lions per year.


In June 2015, Walter Palmer, an American dentist and recreational game hunter from Minnesota, reportedly paid US$50,000 to a professional hunter / guide, Theo Bronkhorst, to enable him to kill a lion. Cecil was allegedly lured out of the sanctuary where he was shot and wounded with an arrow. He was tracked, and approximately 40 hours later was killed with a rifle. He was then skinned and his head was removed. When his headless skeleton was found by park investigators, his tracking collar was missing.

Zimbabwe National Parks have stated that neither Bronkhorst nor the landowner, Honest Ndlovu, on whose property Cecil was believed to have been shot, had the appropriate permit for a lion hunt. On 31 July 2015, Agence France Presse AFP reported that the Zimbabwean hunt guide, Bronkhorst, declared: "We had obtained the permit for bow hunting, we had obtained the permit for the lion from the council." The two Zimbabweans were arrested by Zimbabwe police and accused of assisting Palmer in the killing. Palmer had already returned to the United States, where he issued a statement that he had "relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt" and "deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion". On 28 July, The Daily Telegraph reported that "independent sources" had "seen a copy of the relevant hunting permit". In a previous incident, in which Palmer killed a bear 40 miles (64 km) from where the bear hunting permit he held would have been valid, he had offered about $20,000 for his hunting party to lie about the circumstances. On that occasion, he was given a $2,938 fine and a year of probation.

Here is BBC2's Newsnight interview from 25 August 2015.
Brian May calls for Cecil's Law - with Rosamund Urwin:

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Ty Warner, the billionaire CEO of Ty Inc., says his company has created Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby in memory of Cecil the lion killed in Zimbabwe and that he is donating 100 percent of the profits to WILDCRU (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University UK). The scientists there were tracking Cecil as part of their research project.

"Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil," Warner said in a statement.

Please note: it has become noticeable that some people are now selling this Ty toy at inflated prices (in excess of £30 in some cases).  There is absolutely no need to do so - please read on....

This Beanie Baby is being sold out almost as soon as supplies reach outlets. I have established this link with Amazon.co.uk - please press the Ty image above to go straight there; hpwever, if you find that stock is not available please let me know by using the form below. Providing you have sent your correct name and email address I shall respond just as soon as I know that further supplies are available. At the time of writing, this Ty Cecil the Lion retails at £4.30 each with free delivery. A great Christmas stocking filler!

Ty Cecil the Lion
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