Mural of Cecil the lion in Carlsbad sparks online debate

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CARLSBAD, Calif. - A new mural featuring the lion that was illegally hunted and killed in Zimbabwe has been revealed on the side of the 83 degrees restaurant on Carlsbad Village Drive.

General Manager, Nick Wheeler, said there were already plans to have a mural painted on the side of the building. He said once news broke of Cecil's passing, owner of 83 Degrees, Mayur Pavagadhi, knew he wanted to honor the lion.

According to the artists who painted the mural, Ron Juncal and Phyllis Swanson of Studio 2, Pavagadhi grew up in Kenya. Both artists took a little more time to make this mural special for Pavagadhi because word of the lion's passing really hit close to home for him.

Juncal said it took him and Swanson approximately 30 man hours in 5 days to complete the mural on the side of the building.

The work of art has been stopping people in their tracks. Many stare at the mural in awe while others take photos on their smart phones.

However, there has also been negative chatter about the new mural online. On the popular Reddit site, some posted, "That's a little ridiculous," and "There are bigger problems in the world than Cecil the lion."

Wheeler said they have heard the controversy for the last couple of days and said while they understand the sentiment others have for different issues, Cecil the lion was the most relevant matter at the time, and one that deeply touched Pavagadhi's heart.


  • Michael Perrin (@WestOfI35)

    Apparently there must be people who don’t believe in private property. The owner of the restaurant bought and paid for a legal mural on the side of the building, and some chastise him? It’s great.

    I am looking forward to an actual picture of Walter Palmer’s suicided body, however. For some things, paint just will not do.

  • Tami

    That is a beautiful tribute to a magnificent creature. There will always be something people will think is more important at the moment, but it was his decision, and he has the right to put whatever he wants on the side of that building. I love the mural!

  • Cactus McGregor

    It’s a fricking lion people!! We don’t hear anything about the million babies aborted every year and their body parts being sold. By the why, a person was killed by a grizzly just the other day in Yellowstone Nat’l Park. Traps are set and if the bear is caught it will be euthanized. Maybe we should save that bear instead of protecting others from the man eater.

  • Yana

    Yes there are other matters . And people starve in Zimbabwe how about that stupid asshole shit spent his 50,000 on those people to help. Piece of crap will rot in hell forever . Great beautif job on the mural

    • Cactus McGregor

      Yes Nana, I agree that there are numerous other matters the we should worry more about than a lion that the villagers could have cared less about. It was only the media that brought this to the escalated level it rose to.

  • Cheryl

    So beautiful. It is truly fitting that this magnificent creature should be honoured. I hope some day this mural will become historically symbolic of the lion who’s death changed the utter stupidity of mankind. It is long past time that we, as a society, no longer tolerate the killing of other beings for fun or sport to be sane, ethical or moral. To those people who try to negate this issue by drawing attention to myriad other issues and dismissing this because it is “just” a lion…. YOU are a far bigger part of those other issues than those of us who have respect, love and compassion for this lion. WE value life- and operate from a place of decency and compassion – even for of animals beings. This makes it even more likely that we also care about those other issues. Why is that so hard for you to grasp? Why is it one or the other? BRAVO to these talented artists and this business man. This is truly an inspired and beautiful thing.

  • Kim

    So sick of the “what about this or that” comnents. Do you want an aborted baby painted on there! (#1) it’s his propert to do what he wished to (#2) this comes down to the “haters” having no respect, consideration or common courtesy for other’s feelings or opinions.
    Those are the people who cannot think outsidr if the box or see the entire picture, and who think theit opinion, cause, religion, political views etc are the only “right” way to think. Have you ever heard of respectfully “Agree to disagree?”
    No animal lufe, no human life. Where are you going to live when this earth is trashed?

  • Lorraine Ortega

    I completely understand both sides of controversy, I also agree in the grand spectrum of things. Hopefully this brings to light ALL of the illegal POACHING. One can only assume that if trophy hunters can afford 55k to hunt, then why not 100k or 150k, and to help their local communities?

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