Artists from across the world rally for African Painted Dog conservation

Posted on 17 September 2020

Global Art Fundraiser ‘LYCAON – Artists for Painted Dogs’ features over 30 international artists and photographers, who have come together to raise awareness and funds globally, for the endangered African Painted Dog (also known as Painted Wolves or African Wild Dogs).

A century ago, approximately 500,000 Painted Dogs roamed the African continent. Less than 6,600 including around 700 breeding pairs, remain in the wild today, as a result of ongoing habitat fragmentation, snare poaching, road kills and diseases caught from domestic dogs.

Artists are donating 50% or more of the proceeds from the sale of their artwork to Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe and Wildlife ACT in South Africa.

Help collar the wild dogs of the Waterberg

A litter of wild dog pups in the Waterberg.

‘Art is such a powerful tool to spread awareness and wonderment at the natural world.  Touching people both visually and emotionally, it is something which when embraced, can be incredibly transforming. I hope with this exhibition, we will shine a light on the enigmatic but endangered Painted Dog and build a strong pack mentality with our contributing artists to continue working for the plight of all species threatened today,’ said Heather Irvine, Artist and Curator, Artists for Painted Dogs

African Painted Dogs, with their iconic Mickey Mouse ears, are one of Africa’s most enigmatic yet threatened predators. They are neither dog nor wolf but a canid in a separate genus called Lycaon – a very distant cousin to our domestic dogs.

The Painted Wolf Foundation is proud to support innovative initiatives that seek to raise awareness of this highly endangered species and much needed funds for crucial operations in the field. This is especially critical during these times of COVID-19 where many traditional revenue streams have dried up. Heather Irvine has brought together a group of highly talented and renowned wildlife artists who are offering some of their best work for Artists for Painted Dogs and providing art connoisseurs with the opportunity to purchase some incredible art which supports conservation at the same time. A win-win all round!’ said Nicholas Dyer, Chairman, Painted Wolf Foundation

Their reputation for being Africa’s most efficient predator is well-deserved, and it is generally accepted that 80% of their hunts result in success. This success is largely due to their high intelligence, teamwork and communication skills. Their dedication to each other’s well-being shows the special bond within the pack.  When a dog becomes ill, injured or old, the rest of the pack cares for and feeds them.  This was one of the reasons that led to them being featured in David Attenborough’s Dynasties (BBC Series 1 – Painted Wolf).

Today, this remarkable species is extinct in 11 African countries and possibly extinct in 8 other countries, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Exhibition, organised by renowned UK artist Heather Irvine, also includes Karen Laurence-Rowe (Kenya), Emily Lamb (Art Patron, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation), Nick Lyon (Director, BBC Dynasties Painted Wolves), Nick Dyer (author of Painted Wolves:  A Wild Dog’s Life), Liberty Shuro (Zimbabwe), Livia Gomez (Brazil), Stephen Rew (David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year, 2019), Nick Mackman (David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year, 2015).

As well as raising awareness globally for the African Painted Dog, the aim is to raise much-needed funds (especially with the additional challenges brought by COVID-19) to support two incredible organisations (@painted_dog_conservation and @wildlife_act) in the field, working hard to save the Painted Dogs and support the communities living alongside protected areas. Also to support artists who are struggling with physical exhibitions being closed during COVID-19, but even faced with the financial challenges, they are donating 50% or more of the proceeds from the sale of their artwork to the two organisations.

‘Initiatives such as this are so important for boosting the profile of such a highly-threatened species, which face many threats, including persecution by humans due to misconceptions. The more the public comes to love a species such as the Painted Dog, the stronger the desire will be to protect them,’ said Dr Simon Morgan, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee, Wildlife ACT.

‘Our belief is that, to save Painted Dogs, we have to work with communities, educate the future generation and have a healthy and motivated staff. COVID-19 disrupted our ability to continue engaging with communities face-to -face and affected our children’s Bush Camp Program for 2020, which educates kids between the ages of 10 and 12. Teaching children conservation concepts that seek to influence the next generation to care and protect the environment. As a result of COVID-19, we saw an acute rise in poaching activities hence we engaged local community anti-poaching volunteers to help curb the loss of wildlife,’ said David Kuvawoga, Operations Manager, Painted Dog Conservation

Gallery open on website for viewing on Tuesday September 29. Exhibition opens for sales on Tuesday October 6 and closes on Friday November 6.

For more information, visit the website here. 

Image: Getaway Gallery

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