Toymaker Ty is launching a special edition “Cecil” plush in partnership with Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
image via (cc) flickr user vjosullivan
Amidst the internet-fueled uproar over the untimely death of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion at the hands of big game hunters, there have been some genuinely positive developments. In the wake of Cecil’s killing, a re-energized conversation has emerged around curbing the practice of big game hunting, and expanding zoological protections for hunted wildlife. It’s a conversation that has, in fact, helped motivate significant action, rather than the usual chorus of armchair outrage. For example, a number of major airlines have since pledged to halt the transportation of big game hunting trophies.
A heated conversation around the violent death of a majestic big cat would be the last place most people would expect a child’s plush toy to make an appearance. It’s into this conversation, however, that stuffed animal manufacturers Ty Incorporated have joined. This week the company announced that they will be releasing a special “Cecil the Lion” toy into their mega-popular “Beanie Baby” line of collectibles.
Ty Warner introduces Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby - 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford England. (PRNewsFoto/Ty Inc.)
But beyond simply being a cuddly tribute to the slain lion, the company has also pledged that all original sale profits from the Cecil Beanie Baby will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford—the same research facility which had been studying the big cat since 1999. As The Chicago Tribunepoints out, this isn’t Ty’s first time dedicating special edition Beanie Babies for a conservation-focused cause: In 2004 the company released a special line of their plush toys, in partnership with the World Wildlife Federation.
Said Ty Inc. founder and CEO Ty Warner in a release announcing this latest initiative: “Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil.”
The Cecil toys are expected to go on sale in late September.