Cecil the lion death: Here is how you can actually help lions in the wild

People have started donating money to conservation research group WildCRU

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The Independent Online

Following the killing of Cecil the lion by American dentist Walter Palmer, the internet has been up in arms - but people are now calling for more constructive efforts to be made to ensure that lions are protected in the wild.

Palmer's name started trending worldwide on Twitter after he was revealed as the hunter who killed Cecil, as users in their droves took to the site to condemn him.

Numerous celebrities have also joined the anti-Palmer campaign, with many people wishing the worst upon him.

Two men, hunter Theo Bronchorst and landowner Honest Trymore Ndlovu, have been charged and are set to appear in court in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

However, the campaign against Palmer looks unlikely to die down, as he has not yet been charged with any offence.

Professional Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst (C) and local landowner Honest Ndlovu (R) sit in the Prosecutor's office at the Magistrate's Court in Hwange during proceedings on poaching charges.

Dentist-baiting may have been the first reaction to the incident, but it might not be the most constructive - however, calls have been made to make a real difference to the welfare of wild lions through donating to groups that protect them.

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, or WildCRU, the Oxford University-based conservation group which had tagged Cecil the Lion in order to track his movements, has been suggested as a worthy group for donations.

The call to donate to WildCRU was started by American chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, on his nightly programme Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Speaking on the show, Kimmel said: "I think it's important to have some good come out of this disgusting tragedy."


WildCRU work to ensure the conservation of lions by tagging them with GPS units, allowing them to track the movements and behaviours of hundreds of animals at once, providing huge amounts of rich data that allows the group to ensure that their conservation efforts work.

On top of this, WildCRU also run an anti-poaching team, a conservation theatre group, and an education campaign, that helps children in every school in the district to learn more about the problems facing the species.

WildCRU requires £150,000 a year to continue its operations, and due to the wide range of their work, no donation is too small.

Professor David Macdonald, Director of WildCRU, said: Good can come from this if the world’s attention can lead to support for our work to improve lion conservation – helping us buy satellite collars, maintain our field vehicles and train excellent young Zimbabwean conservationists."

He added: "We desperately need support – millions of people have been affected by Cecil’s death – and by the plight of lions in general – and imagine they are powerless at preventing further lion decline."

"However, those millions can make an immediate and real difference – if each of them made a pledge of support to the WildCRU it would revolutionise our work for conservation, and hugely improve the long-term outlook for lions both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere."

"That would be a worth memorial to a lion as magnificent as Cecil, who has provided so much to WildCRU and the world”.

Audience's jumped on Kimmel's idea, with many people, including Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, making donations and calling on others to do the same.