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Cecil the Lion Died One Year Ago—Here's What's Happened Since

A year ago this week Cecil the lion was killed by Walter Palmer, sparking an international outcry and greater scrutiny of trophy hunting for the heads, skins, or other body parts of wild animals. Eight African countries allow the consistent export of lion parts, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tanzania, which holds nearly half the continent’s wild lions.Lions have declined precipitously in the wild, down from an estimated 200,000 continent-wide a century ago to about 20,000 today. Trophy hunting advocates and some conservationists argue that fees from hunts support conservation efforts for the big cats, whose main threats are habitat loss, prey depletion, and greater conflict with humans.Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is said to have paid $54,000 to bow-hunt Cecil, a magnificent, black-maned, 13-year-old lion who lived in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park and was well known to visitors. On July 1, he hit Cecil with an arrow on a farm outside the park, a place where the lion usually went to explore. The team tracked the famed cat and shot him again 11 hours later.The Aftermath of Cecil’s DeathCecil the lion died last July at the hands of an American trophy hunter. A lot has happened since Cecil died.NG STAFF
Source: Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, International Fund for Animal Welfare, New York Times, Reuters, The Guardian
News of Cecil’s death spread instantly. Palmer became an international target of contempt, and thousands took to social media to protest Cecil’s death and trophy hunting in general. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel even cried. He put out a plea to viewers to donate to Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (Wildcru), the research group that had installed a radio collar on Cecil and was observing him. Donations poured in.“I think it’s arguable that this is the biggest global response to a wildlife story there’s ever been,” says Wildcru director David Macdonald, who analyzed the media coverage. “I think all those people were exhibiting an interest not just in lions but in conservation more widely.”Here’s what else happened over the past year.You Might Also Like

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See Captivating Photos of Refugees in a Converted School

In the stories about refugees who have fled to Greece, one word comes up often—stuck. Fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries, the asylum-seekers have hit roadblocks and closed borders.While the flow of refugees has slowed since last year, it hasn’t stopped. More than 1,300 refugees arrived in Greece in June, adding to a total of about 57,000. Many camps are full, and it’s increasingly difficult for refugees to find lodging as they wait to continue their journeys beyond the Grecian borders.But now, one group of refugees has found a new temporary home in an unused school in Athens.The campus in Athens was abandoned in 2013, but rediscovered this spring by a group of volunteers, who converted it into housing. In addition to giving refugees a place to live, the volunteers serve meals, give Greek language lessons, and provide equipment for the children to play basketball and soccer in the playground.“You don’t have good feelings when you live with this,” says Aris Messinis, a photographer who lives in Greece and who documented refugee life in the school.Messinis says at first, it was difficult for him to take pictures, and he was particularly forbidden to take pictures of the women. “The first time it was difficult to approach them because everyone was afraid,” he says. But with time came results, and he plans to return to the school soon to update his work and see how the residents are doing.Related Stories