A man who was behind the creation of one of the most famous lions of all time has created an incredible tribute to another important lion in the spotlight.
Aaron Blaise, who has worked as an animator on The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and many other Disney films, was so moved by the tragic killing of Cecil the Lion that he felt compelled to create a breathtaking work of art for the fallen animal.
"Like many people around the world, I was extremely moved by the recent tragedy surrounding the hunting and killing of the beloved lion know as Cecil," he wrote on his website. "As you may be able to tell I am a HUGE animal lover and it drives me crazy when I see these beautiful creatures destroyed for no good reason…When I heard the news about Cecil I got inspired to create a tribute image. It's not much but hopefully it will make people think."
Blaise's portrait features Cecil up in the sky among the stars, much like Mufasa was in the 1994 animated classic, and the pride he left behind is staring up at the heavens. Underneath the beautiful picture is The Lion King quote: "Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down upon us from those stars."
We're not crying. You're crying!
But Blaise wanted to do more than just make a piece of art; he wanted to raise awareness and drive people to do their part in making sure Cecil's legacy lives on.
"I've decided to get personally involved and hopefully our efforts can help educate people and prevent these horrible things from happening in the future," he writes.
The time-lapse video of his painting (above) features links to donate to WildCRU, which is the organization that was studying and protecting Cecil. You can also see more of Blaise's artwork at his Instagram page.