BOONE, N.C., Aug 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Cecil the lion controversy exploded all over the world, death threats and insults filled up feeds on Facebook and Twitter. Journalists lined up to cover a fiery debate over hunting in Africa.
Watch Ryan Kirby's Video Tribute to Cecil the Lion:
Forgotten in the Cecil saga it seemed, were the people of Africa, and that didn't sit well with renowned wildlife artist Ryan Kirby. So Kirby did what he normally does when something inspires him; he began to paint.
By the time he was finished, Cecil was brilliantly immortalized forever. "Cecil The Hunter," the original oil on canvas painting took Kirby nearly a week to complete and depicts a proud and massive Cecil, standing over a freshly killed kudu.
"I'm a hunter, and proud to say so. I felt that Cecil needed to be painted not as a lethargic cat lying around for tourists to photograph, but as he truly was - Africa's greatest hunter," said Kirby.
Kirby, himself a lifelong outdoorsman and conservationist, doesn't mince words when talking about Cecil. "Cecil wasn't a furry little pet, or endangered or helpless," says Kirby. "He was a wild beast. He killed for food, for territory and for conquest."
As the hours at his easel passed, Kirby made a big decision.
"I decided to auction the painting on eBay and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to a charity to benefit the people of Africa," said Kirby.
Kirby chose Wine to Water, a non-profit organization that's dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to remote areas of the world, and whose founder, Doc Hendley, was featured as a CNN Hero in 2009. The proceeds from the auction of "Cecil The Hunter" will be used by Wine To Water in rural Africa.
The auction is currently live and scheduled to end at 7:00 AM on Aug. 22. To view "Cecil The Hunter" on eBay, click here. Even users who can't bid are encouraged to share the video and use the hashtag #CecilTheHunter.
"If the money raised from my painting can make a difference in just one life, I believe it can do more for my fellow man than all the hashtags, online petitions and death threats ever will," says Kirby.
"This is a one-of-a-kind original oil painting of the most famous lion in history and I believe that together with the winning bidder, we have the opportunity to change the world."
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SOURCE Ryan Kirby Wildlife Art