The Cecil Beanie: David Macdonald explains how this gorgeous plush toy is helping conservation
When the Vice President of the Ty Company that makes Beany Babies arrived at WildCRU’s headquarters in Oxfordshire, I did not fully appreciate the fame of these soft, cuddly toys, but within minutes I learnt that almost everybody had delighted in them as children. How wonderful, therefore, to be told that the company’s enthusiasm for wildlife conservation, and faith in our work, had prompted them to produce a Cecil the Lion Beanie, and to donate all of the profits to support WildCRU. Better yet, each Cecil Beanie bears a small ear-tag, on which is printed WildCRU’s mission statement (which is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original scientific research), along with our website. Hopefully people acquiring the Beanie will visit our website and, as you are doing now, read about our work and join our family of supporters. Of course, we are thrilled to see our work exposed to Beanie enthusiasts, and deeply grateful for the donations we will receive from the sales, but even more exciting is the thought of all the people who are expressing their interest in lions, learning about the urgent need for their conservation, and who will hopefully join the swelling force of those around the world for whom the well-being of wildlife, and of people who live alongside it, is an increasingly high priority. By the way, here’s a tip for Beanie owners: we’ve discovered that if you hold Cecil’s hind-quarters and give him a gentle shake, his mane fluffs up beautifully!