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Take the kids on a wild discovery this summer...

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Tigers spotted in Godalming



Tigers are one of the world’s most loved animals but how much do you know about them? You can discover more about these magnificent big cats AND have the chance to win a fabulous special edition ‘Augustus’ the tiger adoption by taking part in the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Godalming Tiger Trail this summer.

Launching with a street collection for wild tigers in Godalming on Saturday 23 July, the trail begins on Monday 25 July and embraces World Tiger Day on Friday July 29.
Tiger c Barcroft Media - TigerTime
“The tiger has been in crisis for so long that many people have forgotten how few of them remain and how vitally important they are to the survival of forest habitats and the planet as a whole,” says DSWF Education Manager, Jo Elphick. “The aim of the Godalming Tiger Trail is for children – and parents – to rediscover the magic of tigers and engender understanding and support for them while having fun and the chance to win a really lovely special edition adoption that includes the award-winning children’s book ‘Augustus and his smile’ by Catherine Rayner.”
Tiger and books
To take part simply collect your free answer sheet and map from the Godalming Art Shop at the bottom of Godalming High Street and find the tigers and their questions in participating shop windows. Completed forms should be handed in at Waterstones and the winner will be notified by Tuesday 2 August.

“It’s a wonderfully simple idea to raise awareness for wild tigers that we hope children and parents will love,” adds Jo.

Special Information:
There are estimated to be c.3,500 tigers left in the wild. Since the turn of the 20th Century the tiger has lost c93% of its historic range and numbers have plummeted from 100,000. The main threats to the wild tiger are habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) based in Shalford, has been fighting to protect tigers for over 30 years and in 2011 launched its successful social media campaign TigerTime to help raise awareness and funds for conservation projects in India, Russia and Thailand and undercover investigations into illegal trade and trafficking from tiger range countries to China and other Far eastern consumer countries. Find out more at www.tigertime.info

Catherine Rayner is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator and DSWF have teamed up with her to create the special edition Augustus adoption as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of ‘Augustus and his Smile’. Proceeds from the sale of the anniversary edition also go to support DSWF’s tiger conservation projects.

Prince of India to raise funds for TigerTime

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Wildlife artist Richard Symonds has teamed up with TigerTime for a unique fundraiser to help save tigers in the wild

A life-long fan of wildlife artist and founder of DSWF and TigerTime, David Shepherd CBE, Richard has embarked on an exciting partnership that has created an amazing one-off work of art set to be unveiled at London’s Mall Galleries on June 29 (opens to the public June 30) as part of the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition that runs until Saturday July 4.

The magnificent life-size oil portrait of a Bengal tiger entitled ‘Prince of India’ will, however, be making a special guest appearance at the DSWF Gallery in Shalford, Surrey from Monday June 22 – Friday June 26 before it heads up to London.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come and see this truly majestic oil painting before it leaves for London,” says TigerTime campaign manager, Vicky Flynn. “With as few as 3,000 tigers left in the wild this will be a rare opportunity for people to see a life-size tiger and to have their photo taken with it.”

While selfies with captive tigers have been condemned by conservationists, the TigerTime team are encouraging people to take selfies with the ‘Prince of India’ to help spread awareness of the plight of the tiger in the wild by using the TigerTime and ban tiger trade hashtags when posting their photos on social media (#TigerTime #bantigertrade).

“Motivating people to act and to spread awareness is what TigerTime is all about,” adds Vicky Flynn. “We fund raise to support vital conservation, education, community outreach and undercover work across tiger range countries and have mobilized a huge following through social media with hundreds of people signing up to our campaign to ban the trade in tiger parts. With art very much at the heart of our charity, Richard’s idea fits perfectly into what we do.”

Talking about ‘Prince of India’ Richard Symonds said: “There is something so incredibly beautiful about the tiger that the thought of them being threatened with extinction in the wild is a real incentive to do something to reverse the decline. I’ve followed David Shepherd’s work, both as an artist and a conservationist and have been inspired to do what I can to help.

“'Prince of India' has been a real pleasure to paint and has taken in excess of 300 hours to complete. The whole painting process has been inside my studio but with the beautiful weather outside and my love of the great outdoors, I wanted to complete the last few brush strokes in a forest environment. A fitting end to the painting being completed in the wild – just as the tiger should be.”

As original and rare as a wild tiger, the painting will carry a price tag of £30,000 with proceeds supporting tiger conservation in India, Russia and Thailand. Prints of the ‘Prince of the India’ will also be available from June 22 at the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Gallery, 7 Kings Road, Shalford and online at www.richardsymonds.co.uk
framed and ready
The painting is based on a photograph taken by fellow TigerTime supporter, Michael Vickers (www.tigersintheforest.com) of the Chiroli Male - or T2 - a huge dominant male who ruled an extensive territory in Ranthambore. T2 died of natural causes two years ago but leaves a fabulous legacy including the current star male known as 'Romeo'.

If you are interested in buying Prince of India: please contact Vicky on +44 (0)1483 443851.

You can find out more about TigerTime at www.tigertime.info and join the growing global following on twitter @TigerTimeNow and find us on Facebook at TigerTimeNow.

Paul O’Grady on why he’s supporting the elephant orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia

Paul OGrady with Nkala courtesy Jill Worsley
I left my heart in Lusaka at the elephant orphanage. I was lucky enough to film there two years ago and I spent nearly ten days with the elephants there and in particular a baby elephant called Nkala. His mother had been murdered by poachers and he was a very timid little chap, he kept well away from all the other elephants – he was scared of them – he wouldn’t even go in the mud. He kept himself to himself and a sort of little bond grew between us and when something like that happens it’s magical because it’s a once in a lifetime experience. It is something I will never, ever, ever forget.

I got quite involved in the place, and to tell you the truth at the end of the shoot I announced to the crew, I’m not coming home…and they said you’ve got to, you’ve got six weeks of chat shows to do … and I said anybody can do that, but this is a special job, this is something truly special. And I’ll be honest with you, it took quite a lot of persuasion to get me away from the elephants and get me on to the plane home.
But I have never, ever forgotten them and I went back last year and my boy, that’s Nkala, has grown into a big healthy, hearty, jolly elephant and he joins in all the fun. When he first saw me again after a year I thought he must have forgotten me but he hadn’t … He was like a small child at a party, he was embarrassed and hid behind the other elephants and was quite coquettish, he’d peep out to look at me. Eventually, after about half an hour, he came squeaking over and we were pals again. And again I thought; this doesn’t get any better.
Paul OGrady in teh BBC R4 studio
The work they do at the orphanage is remarkable, the bond between the keeper and the elephant is truly extraordinary and we have to help, because in ten years’ time there won’t be any wild elephants left, they’ll all be gone, along with the rhino and that’s shocking. Absolutely shocking. So we have to do everything in our power to help these creatures and to help the people who look after them.
I’m writing a children’s book about a baby elephant and a little boy – I’m going to try and do it at the end of this year – be out next year – and all the royalties will go to the orphanage. So let’s all do our bit and save the elephant.

Since 2011 an average of 20,000 African elephants have been slaughtered each year – their tusks hacked off and shipped abroad to be carved into trinkets and decorative ornaments. In the wake of this continuing illegal trade, orphaned elephants are being rescued across Africa and cared for in orphanages where resources are stretched. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) set up Zambia’s first elephant orphanage and now supports its ongoing work to rescue, rehabilitate and release these precious animals back into the wild. At the time DSWF funds community outreach and education programmes to understand the importance of elephants to their environment and also funds anti-poaching patrols in Kafue National Park to ensure a safe habitat for all elephants.

For more information visit www.davidshepherd.org