Oxford University Wildlife Research Team “So Grateful” for Jimmy Kimmel’s Cecil the Lion Appeal

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"It will be a wonderful monument to Cecil the lion if we are empowered by these donations to continue and to increase our conservation work."

The founder of the Oxford University research team that had been tracking Cecil the lion has spoken out about the flood of donations it's received following Jimmy Kimmel’s appeal.

After an emotional monologue on Tuesday, the late-night host urged viewers to donate to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, which has tracked more than 200 lions in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park for the past 20 years.

“Jimmy Kimmel implored his millions of listeners in the USA to make donations to support our work on lions, and conservation more widely,” wrote David Macdonald, WildCRU’s founding director, on the unit’s website late Thursday. “We are so grateful for this and for the up-welling of support for our work worldwide.”

Macdonald added that, for a program that relied on philanthropy, it was heartening to hear that so many people were forwarding the appeal to their contacts.

“It will be a wonderful monument to Cecil the lion if we are empowered by these donations to continue and to increase our conservation work. The email deluge is overwhelming us, so we cannot reply individually, but we thank you sincerely.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, WildCRU’s coffers already had seen a sizable boost, thanks to Kimmel’s Cecil segment. Reports emerged that more than 2,600 people had donated a total in excess of $155,000.

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