Brands Embrace Conservation In Honor Of Cecil The Lion

Airlines Speak Out; Animal Planet Declares 'World Lion Day'

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As the news about the illegal hunting of Cecil the Lion continued to circulate, companies from airlines to plush toy maker Ty and Animal Planet are leaping to the support of conservation.

Delta Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines said they were banning the transportation of hunting trophies or confirming existing bans.

Images of endangered species were projected on the Empire State Building Saturday to raise awareness of extinction.

Ty Warner introduced a special Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby on Monday, and the company pledged 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford England. WildCRU was researching Cecil before his death.

Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby
Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby Credit: PRNewswire/Ty Inc.

Animal Planet announced a 12-hour World Lion Day marathon on Aug. 10 to "honor the majestic lion–one of the most revered species on the planet –whose numbers are in decline," according to the network. The marathon includes "Big Cat Diary" and "Last Lion of Liuwa," the story of a lion that survived a massacre on her pride.

After the initial backlash -- which included thousands of vitriol-fueled Yelp and Facebook reviews on pages that hunter Walter Palmer didn't create -- the dentist was not seen or heard for days. His Minnesota dental practice was shuttered, with Cecil memorials left at the door.

After pressure from the public and the authorities, Mr. Palmer responded with a press release published on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website. When word got out Minneapolis public relations firm J. Austin & Associates distributed the release for Mr. Palmer, people started calling and leaving negative reviews for the PR agency. J. Austin & Associates CEO Jon Austin, whose Twitter account describes him as a "communications consultant for crisis/issue management, media relations and speechwriting," tweeted the following in response:

On the phone with Ad Age, Mr. Austin said the firm's relationship with Mr. Palmer ended with the distribution of the press release. He declined to name the agency currently working with Mr. Palmer.

And on July 30, Yelp responded to the thousands of negative reviews left for the dentist's practice:

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