Cecil the lion will soon be a beanie baby
Ty Inc. will begin selling Cecil the Lion Beanie Babies at the end of September, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, the group that had been studying Cecil at his home in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park since 2008.
The toy will commemorate the 13-year old lion, a local favorite whose killing on July 2 by Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer has stirred international outrage. It will retail for $5.99.
“Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil,” the company’s billionaire founder Ty Warner said in a short statement.
Ty Inc. has previously supported animal organizations, with a 2004 line of Beanie Babies that benefited the World Wildlife Federation and other dolls over the years that have raised money for zoos.
seeking Palmer’s extradition to face charges associated with an illegal hunt. Reports allege that Cecil was lured out of a protected area, shot with a bow and arrow, then killed, beheaded and skinned.
Palmer hasn’t been seen in public since the story broke, but said last week in a statement that he had relied on his guides to ensure that the hunt was legal. Two other Zimbabweans have been arrested in connection with the incident.
the biggest U.S. airline by volume, said on Monday it will no longer allow hunting trophies as baggage if they are from endangered species. The ban extends to all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide, and the airline will review all its other policies of carriage of other hunting trophies “with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.”
The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, founded in 1986 as part of the University of Oxford’s zoology department, has raised more than 550 million pounds through the Cecil Appeal, which supports the group’s conservation efforts in Zimbabwe. The group hopes to expand those efforts beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.
Beanie Babies hit their peak sales in the 1990s, at which point the toys were sold at prices as high as $5,000 a pop, as Warner made sure the dolls were just rare enough to drive up demand and price. A 2009 documentary short, Bankrupt By Beanies, even documents one family’s spiral into bankruptcy because of a Beanie Babies obsession.
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