I’m deviating slightly here from the wild dog theme to publicise an art exhibition being held for an extremely worthwhile cause. A friend of mine in the Save Valley Conservancy, Lin Barrie, is an incredible artist as well as a dedicated conservationist and is holding an exhibition in South Africa next week in aid of rhino conservation. Entitled “My tears they came down”, this is a moving exhibition focussing on the plight of the rhino – both black and white – in Southern Africa today. Lin’s paintings were prompted by the death of a young rhino cow in the conservancy named Ice, killed with an AK47 in November 2008, a year after her mother met the same fate.
The Save Valley Conservancy was established in 1990 as a rhino intensive protective zone (IPZ). Twenty black rhino were reintroduced from the Zambezi Valley, and the number had increased to 140 individuals by 2005, illustrating the success of the conservation intitiative. Tragically, over the past three years, 33 of these magnificent and valuable animals have been poached for their horn, which is used in the Far East for traditional medicine. In neighbouring South Africa, 2008 saw a minimum of 76 rhino deaths, 37 of which were in the Kruger National Park. This is now a desperate situation that needs immediate focus and attention.
With the assistance of the European Commission (EC) a fund has been set up (under the auspices of the Lowveld Rhino Trust) to establish an anti-poaching unit and to improve the intelligence base which will increase the success in persecuting rhino poachers. However, this fund is established with the requirement that the conservancy match the funds… Lin’s exhibition, and other fundraising attempts are aiming to get support for this critical anti-poaching unit.
Lin is also passionate about the conservation of wild dogs, and their persecution by snaring is also a focus of many of her painitings. Needless to say any anti-poaching efforts, even if co-ordinated by the Lowveld Rhino Trust, will help reduce the threat to these incredible animals as well.
I know that most of you are in the States, but if anyone is in South Africa or has friends or colleagues there who might be interested in going to the exhibition, it’s on from 21st to 24th May at the White River Gallery, in White River, South Africa. There are of course also ways of donating to the Lowveld Rhino Trust without attending the exhibition and I have all the details if anyone thinks they may be able to help. Have a look at this Times article for more information. Any donations made through this blog can go directly to this cause as well, just leave a comment in the comments section.