Artist creates Cecil the lion tote bag to benefit wildlife research

Moved by the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a trophy hunter, an Austin, Texas, artist has designed an eco-friendly tote bag bearing the Zimbabwean lion’s likeness and will be donating a portion of proceeds from the bag's sales to benefit wildlife conservation.

“I sketched the design after hearing about Cecil's death on Monday,” Stephanie Conrad said via email late Wednesday. “As a vegetarian and all around animal lover, I am just sickened by any form of abuse and trophy hunting may just be the most despicable act I can think of.”

Conrad, who specializes in pet portraiture, said the design on the tote bag was based on the “many beautiful photos” she’d seen of Cecil and was hand-sketched on paper before being turned into a graphic screen print.

Cecil, a well-known resident of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, met his end at the hands of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer earlier this month. When the death of the much-beloved animal hit the news Monday it touched off a firestorm on the Internet, with commenters jamming the Facebook and Yelp pages of Palmer’s dental practice with vitriolic comments.

In a post on her studio blog Wednesday, Conrad said she would be donating 30% of proceeds from the sale of the totes to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, the British-based organization that has been conducting a long-term study of Cecil’s pride.

“While donations can never bring Cecil back,” Conrad wrote, “they can help countless animals in the future! As my own part, I will be donating a portion of every Cecil tote bag to help continue research for lions like Cecil.”

The 100% recycled cotton tote bears the lion’s image in red, weighs six ounces, measures 14½ by 15 inches when flat and have a 22-inch handle. They’re priced at $14.99 each before shipping and can be ordered online.

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