Cecil the Lion and Other Endangered Animals Light Up Empire State Building

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Photo Credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / Reuters via NBCNews

Endangered animals have received quite a bit of attention recently, in part due to the killing of Cecil the Lion, the famous African lion who was shot and killed by American dentist and recreational big-game hunter Walter Palmer in Zimbabwe last month. The 13-year-old male lion was lured out of the sanctuary in which he lived, Hwange National Park, shot with an arrow, tracked for 40 hours and eventually killed with a rifle. The death prompted outrage among animal conservationists and animal lovers of all types around the world.

This past weekend, The Empire State Building in New York City paid tribute to Cecil, who was among 160 different endangered species showcased on the structure’s facade. For three hours Saturday night, the building was lit by up to 40 projectors shining striking images of the animals as a part of “Projecting Change,” organized by the Discovery Channel to promote its new documentary, “Racing Extinction,” which airs this December.

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Photo Credit: BBC.com

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

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

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