Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Elephant No. 22: Feature Artist David Shepherd

Evening in Africa, 1995
David Shepherd (1931– )
Source: http://www.davidshepherd.com/davidshepherd-eveninginafrica.html

My friend Terena Gill pointed me to the art of David Shepherd, who is well known for his paintings of wildlife—particularly elephants.

Born in 1931, David Shepherd is not only a highly successful artist but also an outspoken conservationist. In fact, after finishing school, he left England right away for Kenya, where he hoped to become a game warden. Unable to find a warden job at the time, he returned home, and began training as an artist. In addition to producing prints and paintings of wildlife, he has also painted trains—another passion of his—and portraits, including one of the Queen Mother.

Kilaguni Babies, 1995
David Shepherd (1931– )
Source: http://www.davidshepherd.com/davidshepherd-kilagunibabies.html

Shepherd's interest in conservation was cemented by a trip to the African bush, where he came across a poisoned waterhole, surrounded by dead zebra. As a passionate advocate for wildlife, he has been quoted as saying, "You can always build another steam loco, but you can't build another tiger."

Happy Time, 2005
David Shepherd (1931– )
Source: http://www.davidshepherd.com/davidshepherd-happytime.html

He is also founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which supports numerous conservation projects in Africa and Asia. In 1979, he received the Order of the British Empire "for services to the conservation of wildlife" and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008.

As an author, he has several books to his credit, including the autobiographical The Man Who Loves Giants. He has also been the subject of a number of documentaries.

To read more about his life and work, click here.

David Shepherd in his studio.
Source: http://www.davidshepherd.com/davidshepherd-portrait-painting.html

Elephant Lore of the Day
This is a truly heartbreaking story of a baby elephant held captive in Sumatra. If your heart breaks easily when it comes to animals, best to stop here.

In northern Sumatra, logging and deforestation are wreaking havoc on animal habitat, bringing wild creatures into ever closer contact with humans. Elephants are particularly destructive, given their size, so one day palm oil farmers decided to take their revenge.

Capturing a baby elephant nicknamed Raja, villagers kept him chained, neglected and starved—to say nothing of his cries for his mother. Raja had become separated from his herd, which was blamed for recent destruction on a palm oil plantation, and was essentially held for ransom.

Multiple efforts were made by activists and international animal welfare organizations to free little Raja. Unfortunately, the people who held him refused to release him until they were paid what they felt to be fair reparations for recent elephant depredations.

According to activists, those who held Raja captive broke a number of Indonesian laws aimed at protecting wildlife, including laws requiring adequate sustenance of captive animals.

Fed only rarely—and often tauntingly—Raja ultimately sickened and died alone, chained to his tree. There is no happy ending, except the hope that somewhere there is a heaven for elephants, and that Raja is now free.

To read more, click here.

Little Raja was found wandering in a palm oil field, and was captured and
held for ransom. He later died.
Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Ecological Response Unit
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351609/The-terrible-fate-

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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