Stars’ art:

Sara White re­veals how char­i­ta­ble trust Ex­plor­ers against Ex­tinc­tion is shin­ing a spot­light on en­dan­gered species from its Hap­pis­burgh HQ

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

Fa­mous faces help Nor­folk wildlife char­ity

In 2016 I looked ex­tinc­tion in the eye dur­ing a trip to Kenya. I came face to face with Su­dan, a three-tonne north­ern white rhino – the last male of his kind. I like many oth­ers felt the deep sig­nif­i­cance of Su­dan’s pass­ing in 2017.

The earth’s sixth mass ex­tinc­tion is un­der way, sci­en­tists say, with species be­com­ing ex­tinct at a more rapid rate than ever be­fore. All five species of rhino are en­dan­gered, ele­phant are poached for their ivory at a rate of one ev­ery 26 min­utes and just 4,000 tigers re­main, down from 40,000 a cen­tury ago.

Ex­plor­ers against Ex­tinc­tion, a char­i­ta­ble trust pro­mot­ing the con­ser­va­tion of rare and en­dan­gered species, wants you to join us in mak­ing a stand against species ex­tinc­tion.

Pub­lic opin­ion can push gov­ern­ments to do more to pro­tect threat­ened wildlife and this is un­doubt­edly a crit­i­cal time. While habi­tat loss, pol­lu­tion, cli­mate change and hu­man/wildlife con­flict are con­trib­u­tory fac­tors in the steep de­cline of many iconic species, the il­le­gal wildlife trade re­mains the most ur­gent threat to ele­phant, rhino and tiger.

Sketch for Sur­vival – 26 min­utes to make a dif­fer­ence

Sketch for Sur­vival is an in­te­gral part of Ex­plor­ers against Ex­tinc­tion. The idea for this an­nual tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion and on­line auc­tion of wildlife art­work came about in Spring 2017 dur­ing a brain storm­ing ses­sion with fel­low trustee Robert Fer­gu­son.

Our team (of two) set about writ­ing let­ters. We asked pro­fes­sional artists and celebri­ties if they would help us raise aware­ness about species ex­tinc­tion by spend­ing 26 min­utes on a sketch of an en­dan­gered an­i­mal. The funds raised from the auc­tion of art­work would sup­port front­line con­ser­va­tion projects. It all went very quiet.

We wrote more let­ters. Slowly but surely our sketch on the back of a beer mat meta­mor­phosed into a tour­ing art ex­hi­bi­tion. Many artists, who be­lieve pas­sion­ately in the cause spend far longer than 26 min­utes, do­nat­ing beau­ti­ful, com­plex art­works – ‘art with heart’ as one of our celebrity sup­port­ers likes to call it.

In our first year we ex­hib­ited 161 pieces. The col­lec­tion sold for

over $50,000, sup­port­ing three im­por­tant projects.

This year we have 476 art­works, rep­re­sent­ing 30+ na­tion­al­i­ties and over 60 rare and en­dan­gered species. Our tour vis­its seven venues, in­clud­ing those in Lon­don, Nor­wich and New York.

Three Os­car win­ners, the world’s most fa­mous liv­ing ex­plor­ers and a best-sell­ing in­ter­na­tional au­thor are among our con­tribut­ing artists. These orig­i­nal art­works are very af­ford­able with start­ing bids just £50. What’s more you’ll have some­thing on your wall that gives you great plea­sure and has also helped to make a real dif­fer­ence.

I of­ten think back to my en­counter with Su­dan.

I am proud to say that Garamba Na­tional Park in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, which was the last wild strong­hold of the north­ern white rhino, is the fo­cus of Ex­plor­ers against Ex­tinc­tion con­ser­va­tion ef­forts in 2018 and our big­gest project to date.

The rhino may be gone from this UN­ESCO World Her­itage park, but there is still time to safe­guard the most fa­mous res­i­dents, the ele­phants. Their num­bers have been dec­i­mated by poach­ing, fall­ing from 22,000 in the 1970s, to just 1,200 to­day. We are go­ing to be as­sist­ing non-profit African Parks who man­age Garamba, to es­tab­lish a work­ing dogs pro­gramme. A ca­nine unit will help park rangers con­front il­le­gal wildlife traf­fick­ing by in­creas­ing re­sponse times and of­fer­ing a tremen­dous de­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity.

On the other side of the world we are part­ner­ing with Fauna and Flora In­ter­na­tional to help safe­guard Su­ma­tran Tiger, the small­est sub-species of tiger.

‘Slowly but surely our sketch on a beer mat meta­mor­phosed into a tour­ing art ex­hi­bi­tion’

Sketch for Sur­vival, Nor­wich School Crypt Gallery, 23-25 Novem­ber. Ad­mis­sion is free. Auc­tion closes Novem­ber 25. Among the con­tribut­ing celebri­ties are Nor­folk’s Stephen Fry and Fred­er­ick Forsyth, ex­plorer Le­vi­son Wood, ac­tors Dame He­len Mir­ren and So­phie Thomp­son, and film-maker Nick Park.

The pro­fes­sional artists in­clude Rachel Toll, Fiona Cham­pion, Tom Tinn Dis­bury; Eric Ray and Siob­han Bar­low.

LEFT: Rhi­noc­eros by He­len Mir­renOP­PO­SITE, FROM LEFT: Wild dog by Fiona Cham­pion; rhi­noc­eros by Le­vi­son WoodBE­LOW:Mon­key by Fred­er­ick Forsyth; ele­phant by Stephen Fry

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