Raise the Baby Rhino with Hunter is a charitable foundation in South Africa, which as the name suggests, works with baby rhinos. Money is raised to help to raise and rehabilitate orphaned rhinos, and to increase awareness of the plight of rhinos across South Africa. Hunter Mitchell has been hugely committed to saving these magnificent and ancient beasts since 2015 when he heard that a baby rhino had been abandoned by its mother. Amazingly he has raised over £10,000 since then – and he’s only 11 years old!!
Hunter won 2nd place in the International Eco-Hero Youth Awards held by Action for Nature in September 2018. Very well-deserved, and as I love watching rhinos at conservation parks and painting them in unusual colours, I’m very pleased to be supporting wildlife conservation projects to help rehabilitate rhinos and preserve them in the wild for future generations. A proportion of all rhino painting and print sales from my website in 2019 will be going to this great cause.
You can find out more about Raise the Baby Rhino here.
Is this the biggest hedgehog you’ll ever see? It stands at the entrance to the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield, Surrey, which you can visit at weekends and during school holidays.
My 20 month-old grandson is already mad about animals, and recently came with us dressed as a character from one of his favourite stories – a Gruffalo! Those who know the story will not be surprised that he could recognise the owls before anyone pointed them out! There is also a huge barn with mice runs that cross overhead within the building. Sadly it was too cold when we visited for the mice to be running around, but we did spot a few, and he was very excited to see another character from the story!
The frequent keeper talks are informative and interesting, and give you the chance to get a close-up view of animals such as otters that come out of the water onto the bank at feeding time, and Scottish wild cats that might otherwise remain hidden from view. The wild cats might look a bit like our domesticated cats, but they really don’t like people.
There is nothing like a child’s excitement at seeing wild animals for the first time to remind me why I support wildlife conservation charities, and I really hope that my grandchildren will still be able to experience this when they are my age…
The staff at the British Wildlife Centre are very keen on educating children so that they care about our wildlife, and they do an excellent job in helping them to develop a life-long interest in animals through the keeper talks, various information boards around the site, and hosting school trips. Adults are welcome too, so if you live near enough, or you’re visiting the area, do go and support them.
And if you can take a small child with you, even better!
I’m currently painting a new British Wildlife collection, which will be launched at my next exhibition in Surrey at the end of May 2018. Before the official launch of these new original paintings, prints and cards, I will be announcing a special offer just for my followers – if you would like to be included, please join my mailing list here.
A sneak peek at just 2 of the paintings- the full British Wildlife collection will be revealed in the latter part of May 2018. Watch your inbox in May for news of an exclusive special offer, only available to my followers…
I was driving earlier today when I heard on the radio that Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, had died. It was one of those ‘where were you when you heard?’ moments…
Like many people, I was saddened that he had died, though as he was elderly and had been deteriorating for some time, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that in the end it was kinder to let him go.
Sudan was the last male Northern White Rhino, and there are now only two remaining females, his daughter and grand-daughter. Scientists have taken some of Sudan’s genetic material and the experts think there may still be some slim chance for the Northern White Rhino in the future.
EXTINCTION IN OUR LIFETIME?
In the meantime, there are other species that could also find themselves on the brink of extinction in our lifetime. I dread having to explain to my young Grandson why we didn’t do more to prevent poaching and habitat destruction to protect tigers, snow leopards, mountain gorillas, giant pandas, Java rhinos and many more species. They include the cute ones that we romanticise and many smaller, unseen insects, reptiles and fish in vulnerable environments across the world.
It is too easy to be paralysed by the enormity of the problem. Fortunately there are brilliant organisations who have experienced teams tackling various aspects of the puzzle. From political problems that lead to habitat loss, wildlife trafficking, and education to animal welfare issues, there is so much to be achieved. We can help.
Have you ever tried to find a painting of an elephant online?
Search engines don’t always give you what you think they will…. Try searching for “elephant artist” – would you expect a list of artists who paint elephants?
This search term is just as likely to find artists who happen to be elephants. You will see numerous photos and videos of elephants with a paintbrush in their mouths. Tourists buy their abstract paintings almost before the paint dries. In Thailand, you can visit an art gallery that only sells paintings by elephants – they use the tagline “Help Support these Endangered Elephants.”
There may be an obscure study somewhere that shows an elephant drawing in the mud with a stick, but there can be no doubt that elephants do not routinely find paint, brushes and easels in their natural habitat.
Reports of the cruelty inflicted on elephants to get them to perform these painting tricks can readily be found online. I won’t give links here as the photographs and descriptions are deeply disturbing. Tourists are being misled into supporting these cruel practices in the name of conservation.
If you are interested in wildlife conservation projects, consider supporting the International Fund for Animal Welfare instead. They are involved in some great initiatives to help elephants, including anti-poaching projects. They also have a much more constructive attitude to art and elephants. For instance, in 2017 they combined a children’s art contest and education about elephants.
If you’re looking for elephant paintings online, try some alternative searches e.g. paintings of elephants, acrylic elephant paintings, elephant wall art etc.