ENVIRONMENT

Empire State Building Pays Tribute To Cecil The Lion

The iconic New York skyscraper came alive Saturday with images of some of the world's most threatened creatures.

Cecil the lion, a majestic black-maned beast who once roamed the woodlands of Zimbabwe’s Hwange, was found dead last month on the outskirts of the national park. He had been killed by an American dentist for tens of thousands of dollars, then skinned and beheaded for a hunting trophy.

Cecil’s death has sparked outrage worldwide, as people everywhere lament the damage that humans continue to inflict on the populations of not just lions, but the planet’s many endangered creatures. On Saturday night, the Empire State Building served as a timely, sky-high reminder of this devastating impact, as images and video of threatened animals were projected onto the façade of the iconic New York City skyscraper.

Cecil was one of the animals featured.

For three hours, “insects, sea creatures, mammals, and birds crawled, swam, and flew over” the Empire State Building “as spectators ‘oohed’ and ‘awed,’” said The Verge. Snow leopards, tigers, lemurs, and manta rays were among the creatures on display.

The spectacle, achieved with the help of 40 projectors, was organized by the Oceanic Preservation Society and the filmmakers of “Racing Extinction,” an upcoming documentary about humans’ impact on threatened species.

“I’m hoping with this film and this event, we can raise awareness and start a movement,” the film’s director Louie Psihoyos (of “The Cove” fame) told The Verge.

NBC New York says the projections were a first for the Empire State Building, which is typically lit up with colors or, on occasion, light shows.

In total, 160 species were featured on the skyscraper. The New York Times says the production cost $1 million.

Scroll down to see more pictures from the event:

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • KENA BETANCUR via Getty Images
  • Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
  • Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
  • Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
  • KENA BETANCUR via Getty Images
CONVERSATIONS