From Sunday 31st December 2017 it will be by law illegal in China to trade in or buy ivory. What a momentous and wonderful thing for elephants and such a happy start to 2018. China has been one of the biggest dealers and markets for elephant ivory so this step is hopefully one that will make a difference. It can only be a good thing for elephants.
Moyo wa Kiburi (Swahili for Heart of the Pride) African lioness
acrylic & mixed media on canvas Diptych 120cm x 60cm
Just finished this diptych close to my deadline of end of December but only just ! It has been one of the most challenging paintings I have attempted. It's a work I wanted to show as a portrait of the fierce nature of the lioness as protector and provider of the cubs. Her life is not an easy one often fraught with danger from the large prey such as buffalo that fight back, from marauding males intent on takeover that threaten the lives of the cubs as well as the lionesses. The larger the pride the more successful they are in providing for the young and themselves.
How is it that a species can be as few as 50 ? That is is the sad number of Asiatic cheetah estimated to be left in Iran. Conservation funding has been withdrawn leaving this extremely vulnerable animal at the mercy of human settlement with roads to cross that are certain suicide. Not very different from it's African cousin the Asiatic cheetah is a little smaller with a lighter coloured coat. It's the usual conflict story of farmers versus the wild animal that predates and kills livestock. Success has come in other countries where people have been educated about protecting their animals by keeping them safe at night and the revolutionary idea of keeping Maremma dogs that live with the herd. Why can't that be done for the Asiatic cheetah ? How much of a challenge will it be to save this amazing animal from extinction if the powers that be in Iran or elsewhere aren't motivated enough to help this animal survive. Inevitably it comes down to economics but once the cheetah has gone it's gone.
Bringing back the extinct Thylacine to the Australian mainland is a possibility now that scientists have managed to sequence the genetic material of these strange animals. Just because we can should we ? How would the animal survive anyway in the very different landscape and environment it disappeared from in the 1930's ? I'm not convinced it's a good idea any more than bringing back to life the woolly mammoth. If we can't keep the animals alive and in healthy numbers that already exist what would be the point of bringing one back long dead ?