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Cecil The Lion's Death Energizes Researchers to Fight for Big Cats Protection

FILE: Piper Hoppe, 10, from Minnetonka, Minnesota, holds a sign at the doorway of River Bluff Dental clinic in protest against the killing of a famous lion in Zimbabwe, in Bloomington, Minnesota July 29, 2015.

A Zimbabwean academic, who assisted Oxford University researchers in tagging Cecil the lion killed last month by American Walter Palmer, says the big cat’s death has been a blessing in disguise as millions of people the world over are now calling for urgent steps to stop the hunting of lions in Africa.

Professor Peter Mundy, head of the Forest and Wildlife Faculty at Zimbabwe’s National University of Science and Technology, believes that though Cecil met his brutal death in Hwange, researchers and ecologists have been energized in fighting against the decimation of local lions estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 in private and state-owned reserves in Zimbabwe.

Over 200,000 people have so far signed a petition seeking the White House to cooperate with efforts to extradite Palmer to Zimbabwe to face unspecified charges. At least 1,2 million people have also signed a petition on a private website, Care2 Petitions, calling for justice for Cecil and an end of trophy hunting.

Professor Mundy told Studio 7 such overwhelming international response and outcry over Cecil will assist academics in carrying out more research on lions and other animals.

According to Oxford University, its Wildlife Conservation Research Unit had been tracking the famous lion's movements by satellite since 2008.

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