Money raised in wake of Cecil death tops $780 000: Researchers

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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)

Harare - Wildlife researchers from Oxford University who were monitoring Cecil the Lion's pride announced on Tuesday that they had received more than $780 000 in donations.

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) said the "incredible" response to an appeal launched after Cecil's death meant that the team could spread its conservation work beyond Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, where Cecil was killed, to "surrounding landscapes in adjoining countries".

"We feel inspired by this support and will work tirelessly to deliver the science and understanding that will enable wildlife and people to co-exist for the well being of both,” WildCRU director David MacDonald said in a statement.

“I believe that the worldwide engagement with Cecil’s story transcends the tragic fate of one lion, and sends a signal that people care about conservation and want it to be reflected in how humanity lives alongside nature in the 21st century," he added.

Cecil was wearing a research collar when he was killed by a US dentist last month on an illegal hunt. It was when Cecil's collar began transmitting signals showing that he was stationary that researchers knew something was wrong. 

Similarly, when Cecil's coalition partner Jericho was reported dead last weekend, researchers disproved the report by publishing a screen-grab of his GPS co-ordinates.

Jericho is looking after Cecil's seven cubs and has recently partnered with a lioness called Ketty, state media in Zimbabwe has reported.

Zimbabwe's state Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has also launched an appeal for donor funds in the wake of Cecil's death. The authority said in a statement that funds raised would help in the monitoring of the hunting industry in Zimbabwe.



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