Zim group wants $35 000 for Cecil statue

2015-08-20 15:52
Cecil strolls around in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. (Paula French, AP)

Cecil strolls around in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. (Paula French, AP)

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Harare - Activists and a Zimbabwean conservation group have launched an appeal for $35 000 to have a statue made of Cecil the Lion.

But the appeal has already prompted questions about whether the money wouldn't be better spent on wildlife protection.

"Cecil's memory will live on forever through this statue of a truly incredible beast that didn't deserve to die and suffer at the hands of lawless, murdering thugs," said Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force head Johnny Rodrigues in a statement.

"Let's keep his memory alive."

The planned statue would be made out of light steel by metal sculptor John Binda.

Cecil was killed in early July by US dentist Walter Palmer in an illegal hunt. His killing sparked global outrage but has left many Zimbabweans - who had never heard of Cecil - bemused.

Rodrigues told News24 on Thursday that he wanted to negotiate with government officials to have Cecil's statue placed in Hwange National Park, where the lion lived prior to his death.

He said if the authorities failed to have it erected there, it would be placed in a museum, likely in Harare, for safekeeping.

But readers of the Zimbabwe National Parks and Game Reserves Facebook group have posted their reservations about the planned statue, with one calling it "a ridiculous waste of money".

"A statue doesn't benefit anyone," wrote another reader, while one man suggested the money be used instead to buy diesel for water pumps to provide desperately needed drinking water for game in the park.

About 100 elephants died during a drought in the park in 2011, while as many as 400 died six years earlier.

The Friends of Hwange Trust also launched an appeal on Wednesday for cash for diesel donations to keep water pumps in Hwange running.

"The rains this year were patchy and erratic and the park is very dry. Although we have recently installed seven new solar systems around the main camp area, these alone cannot pump sufficient water to meet the demand," the group said.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  conservation  |  animals

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