Visitors to the inaugural Wildlife & Safari Show in Harrogate at the end of September were treated to the first public display of the 2018 Sketch for Survival Tour, a delightful collection of artwork created in just 26 minutes to raise awareness about species extinction.
But if you missed that, fear not. The exhibition will visit London, Bath, New York (USA) and Norwich in October and November (see dates here), and the complete collection is also available to view on the Explorers against Extinction website, from where it is being sold by auction to raise funds which are donated to nominated conservation projects pivotal in the battle against wildlife crime. The auction will conclude on the evening of 25 November.
Over 400 original artworks were donated by leading professional artists and celebrities including Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Richard E Grant, Mary Berry, Frederick Forsyth, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Colonel John Blashford Snell, Nick Park and others.
Currently, one African elephant is poached for its tusks in the wild every 26 minutes. Rhino, tiger and lion are other species in peril. To highlight this, the artists were invited to spend at least 26 minutes on a sketch or other original artwork of an endangered species.
Funds raised from the auction will assist African Parks to establish a new anti-poaching canine unit in the World Heritage Garamba National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We’re proud to have permission to give Travel Africa readers this sneak peek of 10 of the artworks included, and we hope you’ll head on over to the Explorers against Extinction website to see more… and, of course, to participate in the auction.
Lot 124 Fiona Champion, Wild Dog
African Wild Dog (Endangered)
Wild dogs live and work in packs and can be seen in East and Southern Africa although their populations are also in decline. Competition with other predators such as lion, in shrinking habitats, conflict with humans and disease have impacted greatly on the African Wild Dog population. There are estimated to be around 6500 wild dogs remaining.
Lot 254, Lexie Mac
Hawksbill Turtle (Critically Endangered)
Found throughout tropical coral reefs, particularly off East Africa the Hawksbill has a narrow, pointy beak and a beautiful brown and yellow carapace. It is their colourful shells which put them at threat – their shells are traded on the black market. Hawksbill turtles also get caught in fishing nets as bycatch (unintended catch)
Lot 137, George Ellinas, HELP!
African lion (Vulnerable)
There has been a 40% decline in lion in the last two decades with only 20,000 remaining. This is largely attributed to human wildlife conflict and habitat loss. Kenya remains a lion stronghold.
Lot 155, Dame Helen Mirren
Rhino (Black Rhino – Critically Endangered)
Although Dame Helen has drawn a Pink Rhino for Sketch for Survival, she helps to draw attention to the decline of the rhino species. Of the five species, two are found in Africa (Black and White) The Black Rhino is critically endangered. There are c 5,000 remaining. The horn is sold in the Far East, particularly in Vietnam where it is seen as a symbol of wealth and success and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Rhino are killed at a rate of one every 7 hours. They die slowly and brutally at the hands of poachers – the poachers aim to keep them alive only while they make their escape. A rhino that dies immediately attracts the attention of vultures and act as an early warning signal to park rangers.
Lot 176, Jenny Musker
The Precious Pangolin (Vulnerable)
There are eight species of pangolin with four in Africa and four in Asia. One pangolin is snatched from the wild every five minutes. They are the most illegally trafficked animal in the world. Their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and they are also poached for their meat.
Lot 179 JiaJia Hamner
Penguins Meet & Greet (Endangered)
African Penguins are experiencing a very steep population decline largely due to habitat loss and commercial fishing which impacts on availability of prey.
British actor, writer, presenter and comedian, Stephen is a passionate advocate of wildlife conservation and has been a supporter of Explorers against Extinction from the very beginning. Last year he sketched a wonderful rhino and this year we have an equally adept elephant.
Lot 187, Jo Maynard, Young gorilla
Mountain Gorilla (Critically Endangered)
Although mountain gorillas are critically endangered with less than 1000 living wild, there has been positive news in recent years with both Rwanda and Uganda announcing slight increases in numbers thanks to strict conservation measures.
Lot 379 Sophie Thompson (actress)
There are nine species of giraffe, the tallest living mammals on earth. Only 47 Kordofan Giraffe are left in DRC. Kordofan are a subspecies of the northern giraffe.
Levison Wood is a British explorer, writer and photographer whose work has featured around the world. He has recently returned from his most ambitious expedition to date – a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon. Last year he supported the campaign with a wonderful lion sketch and this year he has captured Sudan, the last male northern white rhino who died last year at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.