As our technology improves it benefits our understanding of animals and their habitats. So much more is known about the behaviour of some of the worlds most endangered animals such as the snow leopard thanks to sophisticated tracking devices and camera traps. We have a unique insight into the way this elusive and beautiful big cat inhabits it's territory and with that new knowledge comes better ways to protect them. When you consider that new information has come to light that the snow leopard needs a territory of around 220 square kilometres it's no surprise that conflict occurs with humans. These inevitable conflicts as humans encroach further into wilderness areas are one of the prime threats to the survival of snow leopards so the new knowledge and data will help to assign parks for these shy creatures to exist safely.
Endangered animals being trafficked for the pet trade is a fact often lost in the overwhelming stories of ivory poaching and trophy hunting that has dominated our social media in the past several years. Sadly some animals like cheetahs are highly valued additions to a wealthy mans list of must haves and acquisitions. Cheetahs are wild animals that belong in Africa. It is tragic that people just see them as a pet with no regard for the poor animals welfare, treating it like a domestic animal which it is not. The misery and suffering these animals endure because they are completely unsuited to domestic life can't be underestimated. Many big cats not just cheetah, but tigers, caracal and serval cats end up in rescue situations with no hope of ever living as they should because people wanted to own one, only to discover that as the animals matures it demonstrates wild attributes they can't live with. It is equally tragic that in America there are more tigers kept in captive private ownership than there are in the wild. A highly endangered animal such as the cheetah deserves to be protected at all costs. A tiny cub stolen from it's mother has little chance of survival as it suffers the shock of separation and mistreatment. Trafficking of this beautiful animal must be stopped to help it survive as the wild creature it is.
When high fashion decides not to use real fur in their high end garments it's a very encouraging move away from the appalling cruelty animals suffer. We absolutely do not need to wear real fur. It's no surprise the animals bred in farms for their fur are treated badly and there can be no reason for these awful practices to continue if there is no consumer for them. Good on Armani for taking this vital step towards saying no to fur.
The heart breaking truth behind what is happening to elephants in Africa is basically about consumerism and terrorism. If the trafficking can be stopped then just maybe the funding for the terrorist organisations that are ravaging the world will be cut too but we as consumers can also refuse to buy anything made of ivory no matter how small. Every piece you buy came from an elephant one of the last great giants of the animal kingdom. How can we sit back and let this happen.
It is almost impossible for me to imagine Africa without lions and yet it is a frightening possibility. I wanted to paint lions as I see them, magnificent, powerful, territorial top predators. Partly inspired by what happened to Cecil part commentary on the brutal lives they lead living in male coalitions fighting for dominance over prides of females I hope that this painting shows them in all their raw power.
But they face a bleak future unless change comes about to ensure their survival. Trophy hunting, canned lion hunts, habitat destruction and persecution have contributed to massive declines in lion populations throughout Africa. Once roaming in hundreds of thousands their numbers have dropped to current estimates of around 20,000 - 30,000. Lions are now officially classified as endangered.