News flash from David Macdonald, Director of Oxford’s WildCRU

July 31, 2015

I have wonderful news for all those following the story of Cecil, and our work for lion conservation in Zimbabwe and beyond. Overnight, thousands of donors worldwide brought the total of the Cecil Appeal to £300,000. This is stupendous my colleague Andy Loveridge and I are overwhelmed and inspired. There is more. Minutes ago I spoke to American philanthropist Tom Kaplan and his wife Daphne who have been loyal supporters of the WildCRU’s work, and told them of my hope that the total appeal could reach £500,000. Tom and Daphna immediately pledged $100,000 to match, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, each donation that comes in from this minute as a stimulus to reaching that total. We are grateful beyond measure for their generosity, and that of every single one of our donors, big or small.

Tom Kaplan, who with his wife Daphne have given more to big cat conservation than anyone before them, and who has worked closely with David Macdonald at the WildCRU since they became firm friends a decade ago, said “We have to seize this moment where we can all make a difference. Jimmy Kimmel nailed it: If the tragic, illegal, death of Cecil can lead to the saving of many more lions, then some good can come from tragedy. WildCRU is the world’s top university research group when it comes to felids, and so much more beside. To honor and boost David’s work, and the tremendous gift to wildlife conservation that has come from Jimmy Kimmel’s on-air appeal, Daphne and I want to keep the momentum going. To help David reach the tremendous target of half a million pounds, my wife and I are delighted to offer to match the next $100,000 to help achieve that wonderful goal.”

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