Cecil the Lion Donations Hit $470,000

Cecil the Lion with Brother Jericho - H 2015
Brent Stapelkamp

Cecil the Lion with Brother Jericho - H 2015

U.S. philanthropists have thrown their weight behind the appeal, which kicked off following Jimmy Kimmel's Cecil segment on Tuesday.

The outpouring of support for the Oxford University wildlife conservation team that had been tracking Cecil the lion doesn’t look like its slowing down anytime soon.

After Jimmy Kimmel’s on-air appeal on Tuesday night, the WildCRU team reported that more than $150,000 had been donated in under 24 hours. According to the university on Friday, this figure has now swelled to $300,000 ($470,000), which it added was enough to fund research into lion conservation in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park for two years.

"Overnight, thousands of donors worldwide brought the total of the Cecil Appeal to £300,000. This is stupendous," said David Macdonald, the founder and director of WildCRU. "My colleague Andy Loveridge and I are overwhelmed and inspired."

The fund has received a further boost from U.S. philanthropists Tom and Daphne Kaplan, who have pledged to match all money donated to the appeal from 3 p.m. U.K. time on Friday afternoon, up to the value of $100,000.

"Now Tom Kaplan and his wife Daphne, who are loyal supporters of WildCRU’s work, have pledged $100,000 to match, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, each donation that comes in from this minute as a stimulus to reaching our goal of raising a total of £500,000 ($780,000) to support our research," added Macdonald.

"We are grateful beyond measure for their generosity, and that of every single one of our donors, big or small.”