This week, the outrage surrounding the death of Cecil the Lion at the hands of US dentist and recreational big-game trophy collector Walter Palmer continued to ravage the social media waves. From conservationists and activists, politicians and celebrities, it seemed that everyone had something to say about the brutal killing of the protected animal.
And no other has published a tribute half as beautiful as the one shared by Aaron Blaise, a talented animator who has helped bring Disney masterpieces such as The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin to life. Here he is working on a charcoal drawing of a lion in his studio:
Taking to his blog to express his sadness at the immoral slaughter of the majestic lion, Aaron wrote:
"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. 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."
And the Cecil incident, in particular, moved him to action in efforts to help educate people and prevent terrible things like this happening in the future.
Using his phenomenal artistic skills, Aaron was inspired to create a tribute image to honor the murdered lion by channeling the power of the Disney classic, The Lion King. Take a look at the stunning rendition of Cecil, suspended Mufasa-style wondrously in the clouds over the Savanna:
Accompanying the image, Aaron attached the following quote from the timeless movie:
"Look at the stars. The great kings from the past look down upon us from those stars."
The digital rendering is an incredibly touching tribute to Cecil, who will also remain unforgotten. The Oscar-nominated animator admits that "it's not much," but that "hopefully it will make people think."
And it certainly does. Especially when paired with this moving time lapse, showing the artist's entire animation process, from the initial sketches to the final stunning image of Cecil in the majestic style of Mufasa. Take a look!
Since the image and video went viral, Aaron has thankfully graced us with a few more words about his mesmerizing creation, saying:
"I felt an urge to create something beautiful. I was an animator on The Lion King and the scene where Simba sees his father in the clouds after his death popped into my head right away. As I thought about the piece I decided I didn't want to create anything polarizing. I just wanted to create a noble, spiritual image that would move people. "
Relive the moment, and try not to sob, in the poignant The Lion King clip right here: