Iran top sculptor dedicates new work to Cecil the lion

Friday 31/07/2015
It still saddens him that Iran\'s last lion died some 50 years ago

TEHRAN - Iran's top sculptor Parviz Tanavoli is to dedicate a new work to Cecil, the lion who was killed by an American dentist in Zimbabwe sparking an international outcry.

"The cruel killing of the Zimbabwean lion known as Cecil broke my heart," said the 78-year-old, who has created many distinctive sculptures of lions in a career spanning six decades.

"In memory of him, I will be dedicating one of my latest lions to him in order to keep his memory alive and to help stop cruelty to animals," he told the ISNA news agency.

Tanavoli, who usually works in bronze and other metals and is a leading proponent of the Saghakhaneh style that captures elements of Iranian culture, said it still saddened him that Iran's last lion died some 50 years ago.

Zimbabwe has urged the extradition of Walter Palmer, the so-called trophy hunter from Minnesota who attracted widespread derision after shooting the lion and posing for a picture next to its body.

Palmer paid $55,000 for the hunt earlier this month in which he shot Cecil with a powerful bow and arrow outside Hwange national park in the west of Zimbabwe.