What's Worth Watching: "World Lion Day" on Animal Planet for Monday, August 10

Matt Roush
Solent News/REX Shutterstock

Cecil the lion fighting with another lion at the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa - May 2014

World Lion Day Marathon (starts at 6 am/5c, Animal Planet)

Now here's something any nature channel could take pride in. Animal Planet is marking "World Lion Day" by dedicating a 12-hour marathon of its fiercest lion-themed programming to Cecil the Lion, whose recent slaughter by a big-game hunter sparked global outrage. (The channel's AnimalsAreNotTrophies.com online campaign is a resource for those wishing to take action against trophy hunting and poaching.)

Among the exotic highlights of the daylong tribute to this most majestic of wildlife creatures: three hours of Big Cat Diary, which tracks lions, cheetahs and leopards in the Mara wildlife community; and two series featuring the channel's "large predator expert" Dave Salmoni: Into the Lion's Den, in which he infiltrates a pride of wild lions and lives to tell about it, and Into the Pride, in which he returns to the African bush to help save a group of rogue lions from extermination. The marathon is bookended by profiles of memorable animals: Last Lion of Liuwa (6 am/5c), following the lone survivor of a pride that once roamed the Liuwa plain until they were massacred; and A Lion Called Christian (5 pm/4c), recounting the Internet sensation that depicted the reunion of two men and their captive lion named Christian, a year after the lion was released into the wild. Just try not humming "Born Free" as you watch.