Jimmy Kimmel's tearful plea for Cecil the Lion donations raised tons of money

Jimmy kimmel cecil the lionABCJimmy Kimmel asked his viewers to contribute to WildCRU on Tuesday’s show.

Jimmy Kimmel’s tearful plea on Tuesday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for donations on behalf of murdered Cecil the lion not only tugged on heart strings, but it also on opened up a lot of wallets.

A representative for University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, or WildCRU, the organisation that had been tracking Cecil for years, told TheWrap that about about 2,600 people donated more than $US150,000 in the 24 hours since Kimmel’s plea.

David McDonald, the director and founder of WildCRU, thanked Kimmel in a message on the organisation’s website on Wednesday:

“Jimmy Kimmel implored his millions of listeners in the USA to make donations to support our work on lions, and conservation more widely. We are so grateful for this and for the up-welling of support for our work worldwide.”

Cecil the lionPaula French on YouTubeMurdered Cecil the lion’s cubs are now in danger of being killed by another male lion.

He said the donations will help WildCRU continue its conservation work.

Kimmel and many people worldwide have been outraged by the illegal killing of Cecil the lion, a local favourite in Zimbabwe, by Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer. As a result of the widespread anger, demonstrations, and threatening messages, Palmer has closed his dentistry practice and gone into hiding.

The 55-year-old doctor has said that he paid $US50,000 to guides to clear all hunting during his Zimbabwe trip and had no idea that it was illegal to kill the lion nor did he know of the lion’s local celebrity status.

Two of Palmer’s guides, hunter Theo Bronkhorst and land owner Honest Ndlovu, are facing poaching charges in Africa. Although Palmer has left Zimbabwe, he could face charges as well.

A representative for WildCRU didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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