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Lion King Animator Pays Tribute to Cecil With Special Illustration

Cecil-the-LionBy Andre Jones

The world was outraged by the death of Cecil the Lion at the hands of an American dentist. Here is how one artist is honoring his memory.

One of the Lion King’s brilliant animators, 48 year old Aaron Blaise, created a stunning illustration depicting Cecil the Lion looking out over the sky much like Mufasa looked over Simba in the Lion King movie. The completed work reads, “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.”

Die hard Lion King fans will recognize this line from Mufasa to Simba shortly before his death.

The uproar started after Cecil, a protected lion, was killed for sport by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force reported that Palmer paid at least $50,000 to track and kill Cecil.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” Palmer told CBS, “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”

Since killing Cecil, Palmer has been in hiding, hiring armed security to guard his properties to the tune of thousands of dollars per day. These properties, much to the disgust of the general public, contain countless mementos illustrating his love for hunting. For example; his garden chairs are casts of elephants and there is an antelope statue in the window. Palmer has also installed CCTV cameras after endless antagonism and death threats.

Though his primary residence in Eden Prairie remains closely watched and unscathed, his Marco Island property has been defaced with the words “lion killer”, which was scrawled on his garage door, even having pigs’ feet dumped on his driveway.

Blaise explained that he wanted to get “personally involved” by educating people and “preventing these horrible things from happening in the future.” Not only did Blaise draw this illustration to honor Cecil, but all profits from the sale of prints of the image (available with or without the Lion King quote) will be donated to support the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

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