Early this ending week, the world was stunned by news of the gruesome killing of one of Africa’s most famous animals, Cecil the Lion, in Zimbabwe. When news of the lion’s death at the hands of a seasoned game hunter, Twitter was abuzz with outrage and condemnation at the killer, a Walter James Palmer from Minnesota, USA. Not only were addresses to his house and private practice clinic (he’s a doctor) shared openly on the social media platform, he was also issued death threats on the platform. Angry netizens descended on his clinic’s Yelp and Facebook pages to leave negative reviews as a way of expressing their outrage at the killing of what had become Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park’s star attraction and also the subject of a study by researchers and conservationists at the Oxford University that had even put a GPS tracker on him.
While prosecutions of the perpetrators (Dr Palmer’s accomplices) are ongoing in Zimbabwe (and an online petition to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to see to it that it happens already has close to a million signatures) and Dr Palmer himself is now a wanted man, attention has shifted to what can be done to prevent the eventual loss of the continent’s remaining 30,000 lions. To that end, a United Kingdom-based company, Goldgenie, renowned for its expensive luxury smartphones and devices like the Apple Watch (costing $164,000) is making a special edition gold-plated HTC One M9 smartphone to remember Cecil the Lion, help raise awareness as well as donate part of the proceeds from the $2,470 it will make from the sales to Cecil’s former home, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Only 99 of the special edition smartphones will be made available for sale and each will feature an engraving of the lion’s portrait with the words “For Cecil and his Kingdom” inscribed below it. For each smartphone sold, Goldgenie will donate 10% of the money to Friends of Hwange Trust, a charity organization dedicated to the cause of wildlife conservation not only within the Hwange National Park but the entire Zimbabwe as well.
Having been released to a not-so-good reception by fans and critics alike thanks to an average camera and an almost unchanged design from its predecessors, the One M9 has struggled to impress and has done little to change HTC’s dwindling fortunes in the smartphone market. Probably buying at least one of those 99 gold-plated One M9s will add a small bump and twist a decimal point in the company’s shipment statistics while also aiding a good cause.