A group of Minnesotans came together Saturday to make art and a statement, protesting the killing of Cecil the Lion that created an international uproar. The final product was a giant art installation made up of people standing in the outline of a lion, along with the words "courage" and "protect."
"Let's show the world that trophy hunting is unethical, that lions, elephants, rhinos and all other animals deserve to be here for generations to come!" the event's Facebook page says.
Cecil the Lion was killed in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota dentist in early July. Dr. Walter Palmer has said he "deeply regrets" his actions. His guide said he didn't do anything wrong. Federal authorities are investigating the incident, and Zimbabwe is seeking extradition over the lion's death.
The artist behind Saturday's installation is St. Paul native John Quigley, who is now based in Los Angeles and goes by the name John Q. He is known for creating visual art around the world with human participants.
He partnered with his cousin Kevin Foley to coordinate the event at Conway Rec Center in St. Paul, KARE 11 reports.
John Q. tells KSTP he wants the world to know Minnesotans don't stand behind the lion's killing.
"It's a way to send this message out to bring the community together and hopefully let the world know that Minnesota loves animals and cares about their protection."
John Q. roamed the crowd with a megaphone, instructing participants to roar, while lying head to toe on the outline of the lion's head, the Pioneer Press reports.
While original estimates called for 500 to 1,000 people to attend, just about 75 people showed up on the humid day to participate in the project. The crowd fell short of the record to create the world's largest human lion.
Last year, John Q. worked with 1,500 school children to create a lion's head on the beach in South Africa.