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When is an Anteater not an Anteater?


There has been a wildlife photography story in the news recently that you may have seen. Someone was disqualified from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition because he faked a scene using a stuffed anteater. The photo was a winning entry, but the photographer was found out when he couldn’t provide photos taken either side of the winning one. He claimed not to have any as the animal had moved away and his camera settings didn’t allow him to take other photos. Hmm. Experts looked more closely and agreed that the photo had been faked. Apparently he’s still contesting the decision, but it doesn’t look like he’ll prove his case.

Removing a few shadows with a digital computer programme is one thing, but this is in a different league……

Anyone who has ever taken wildlife photographs will know that you end up with more missed/blurred shots than useable ones – as an animal artist, these are usually the ones I find most interesting when I’m taking photographs at conservation parks. That’s just as well as it’s not always easy to get the perfect photo. I always sketch the animals too as reference material for my wildlife paintings, and although I love it, it is a challenge when they won’t stand still!


There could be a lengthy debate elsewhere on whether the anteater taxidermy specimen was recently obtained, how the animal died, or whether it was a historical specimen, possibly obtained in what could be termed less enlightened times. All of these issues aside, the rules for this wildlife photography contest stated that “entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to misrepresent the reality of nature.”

anteater art, anteater gift
I’m glad I don’t have to follow these rules (unless I enter an art competition with similar terms) – I rarely paint wildlife in their natural colours, as you can see from my anteater painting!

You can see the full news story and the photo here. The Anteater photo in the heading of this blog is not connected with the competition.

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British Wildlife in Surrey

hedgehog, British Wildlife Centre, animal

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!

Scottish wildcat, wildlife, catThe 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. 

otter, British wildlife, mammal, animalThere 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!

resting fox, British wildlife art, animal paintingI’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.


Hare, British Wildlife Collection, launch May 2018 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…

Interested in finding out more?  Sign up below.





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How to Find an Elephant Painting

purple and yellow elephant, acrylic elephant on canvas

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.