Clockwork lion unveiled in London to highlight big cat plight

Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:10pm EST
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LONDON - The four bronze lions of London's central Trafalgar Square got a temporary addition on Thursday, with a clockwork sculpture of the animal unveiled to highlight the plight of big cats.

The statue, made of clockwork mechanics, will stand in the square for just a day before being auctioned off to raise money for National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative, which says it aims to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.

According to the initiative’s website, there are likely some 30,000 lions in the wild. Among their threats are poaching and loss of both prey and habitat.

"I think most people don't believe actually lions are in danger," said Jeff Ford of television channel Nat Geo Wild, which during Feb. 1-7 hosts its "Big Cat Week".

"I think they think there's a lot of them about. But just last month they were put on the endangered species list."

Sculptor Iain Prendergast, whose works have appeared on television show "Game of Thrones" as well as in artist Banksy's "Dismaland" theme park, said the statue's body was made to look like "the inner workings of a clock".

Clock hands make up the lion's mane while the eyes were made with small clocks.

A pedestrian photographs a lion sculpture installed by National Geographic Wild to highlight the threat to endangered big cats, in Trafalgar Square in London, January 28, 2016. 

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth