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Cecil the lion lights up New York’s Empire State building

A giant picture of the beloved Zimbabwean lion killed by an American trophy hunter was among images projected Saturday onto the Empire State Building in New York in a dazzling display.

The “Projecting Change on the Empire State Building” initiative was designed to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals and was billed as a first of its kind.

An image of the lion Cecil, whose killing has sparked international outrage, was prime among animals whose pictures covered 33 floors of the southern face of one of the world’s most famous landmarks in an eight-minute video loop.

New Yorkers from as far as 20 blocks away snapped pictures of the building as it lit up the nighttime sky over a steamy Manhattan.

The project was the brainchild of Louie Psihoyos, founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society and director of Oscar-winning 2009 documentary film “The Cove,” which shone a grisly light on Japan’s dolphin-hunting industry.

Fisher Stevens, producer of “The Cove,” told AFP that Psihoyos had chosen the Empire State “because he wanted the most iconic building that he could think of, and for him it was the Empire State.”

The project was designed “to start a conversation,” he added.

In 2011 the top portion of the Empire State building was lit up in red to symbolize the blood of the slaughter depicted in “The Cove.”

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