Discovery Communications-owned cable network Animal Planet is set to run a 12-hour marathon of lion programming in remembrance of Cecil the Lion (pictured), a 13-year-old Southwest African lion killed last month by an American dentist.
Coinciding with World Lion Day on August 10, the network will broadcast some of its most memorable lion programming including large predator expert Dave Salmoni’s Into the Pride and Into the Lion’s Den.
World Lion Day is a global campaign aimed at the international education and preservation of the king of the jungle – a symbolic, religious and cultural icon. A June 2015 study conducted by the International Union for Conservation Nature found that African lion numbers have plunged 42% over the last 21 years despite conservation efforts that saw an 11% surge in lion populations in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Among the programs airing to bring awareness to declining lion populations across the globe are Last Lion of Liuwa (6 a.m. EST/PST), which focuses on the last remaining lioness of Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia; Big Cat Diary (7 a.m. EST/PST), which tracks the daily lives of the lions, cheetahs and leopards that roam the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya; Into the Lion’s Den (10 a.m. EST/PST), which focuses on Salmoni as he attempts to infiltrate a pride of lions; Into The Pride (noon EST/PST), detailing Salmoni’s efforts to save a pride from extinction; and finally, A Lion Called Christian (5 p.m. EST/PST), which recounts Christian the Lion’s release into the wild and his reunion with Australian’s John Rendall and Anthony Bourke.
Animal Planet – which has begun a campaign aimed at taking action against trophy hunting and poaching – will air the marathon between 6 a.m. EST/PST and 6 p.m. EST/PST on August 10.