Aaron Blaise knows a little about lions and their regality. Blaize is a former Disney animator, who served as the supervising animator for the young Nala in The Lion King. It was his deep respect and admiration for the species, coupled with the recent death of Cecil the Lion, that led him to pay tribute to this real life "Lion King."

Blaise worked for the Disney Company for 21 years, and his contributions to Disney film lore included not only Lion King, but also Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin.

Blaise pays tribute on his website with a digitally rendered image paying homage to the Zimbabwe Lion King, who was reportedly hunted and killed last month. The artist posted a time-lapse video of his creation. The finished project shows Cecil still watching his pride from heaven.

Ty, Inc to release Cecil the lion beanie baby
photo courtesy of Ty, Inc and ty.com

In other Cecil the lion news, you will soon be able to buy your own personal Cecil the Lion. Ty Inc., announced this week that a new lion Beanie Baby, named Cecil in memory of the popular Zimbabwe lion, will hit stores in September.

The Cecil Beanie Baby will sell for $5.99, with all profits from this particular stuffed animal will go to support the Wildlife Conservation Unit (WilDCRU), the University of Oxford-based animal conservation program that had been tracking Cecil since 2008.

Ty Inc. has previously supported animal organizations, with a 2004 line of Beanie Babies that benefited the World Wildlife Foundation.

Read more about the Wildlife Conservation Unit at http://wildcru.org.

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