This painting commemorates World Wildlife Day 2023 and its theme – Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation.
CITES WWD 2023 Official briefing document -
“Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation will mean many things to different people, with each of those meanings being valid. In every case, there is an answer to the question: What is the part you play in wildlife conservation?
This theme provides the opportunity to highlight people who are making a difference. As the emphasis is on the partnerships, people will be at the center of those partnerships. It also offers a chance to promote the positive work that is being done at all levels, from national and international organizations and conventions to NGOs, businesses, local communities and homes. CITES believes the theme is one that offers a chance for cohesion, widespread inclusion and hope.”
This painting is my interpretation of the official brief. I was moved by the story of Anton Mzimba, head game ranger at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and his portrait is placed in the center, and head of this painting. Anton was painted with permission from Krystle Woodward, Chief Operations Officer at Timbavati PNR and a close friend of Anton. Anton Mzimba gave his life defending the wildlife of Timbavati and standing up to rhino poachers as head of ranger services in Timbavati, South Africa. He was incorruptible and posthumously won the African Conservation best game Ranger Award in 2022. This painting honors his courage under fire, and symbolically represents the frontline role rangers play in conservation.
Frontline workers such as rangers hold the line to buy time, whilst community outreach projects and civic engagement work towards creating lasting educational social change towards the root causes of biodiversity loss. Ecotourism provides sustainable funding for frontline workers and social media influencers increase public awareness of wildlife issues. Innovative human wildlife conflict mitigation and prevention measures, such as bees for human elephant conflict mitigation and livestock guardian dogs for human predator conflict mitigation, work towards allowing local communities to coexist with nature. Film and media brings wildlife issues onto the big screen and into homes across the globe to further increase awareness and education on wildlife conservation. Organisations such as CITES provide legislative protection for critically endangered species.
“Partnerships are vital, as no organisation, and that includes the UN, can tackle the biodiversity crisis on their own. We have a million species that are threatened with extinction, and it will need all our combined efforts to reverse this” - Ivonne Higuero , CITES SG
Acrylic on Wood Panel
18’ by 24’