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.

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