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Pangolin take centre stage

Pangolin take centre stage

Pangolin take centre stage
TAYMRYN POHL

With the recent high-profile conference in London tackling the illegal trade in wildlife, much of the media focus has been on iconic species such as elephant and rhino. But as endangered, if not more so, are some lesser-known species of wildlife, such as the pangolin. Instrumental in protecting these is Lisa Hywood, founder and managing trustee of the Tikki Hywood Trust, a non-profit organisation based in Zimbabwe which focuses on the preservation of lesser-known endangered species.

The Trust fills a niche that is often overlooked in wildlife conservation: the preservation of species that lack the charisma and public appeal of the larger animals. The subject of far fewer studies, little is known about the life history of these smaller creatures.

The Trust strives to bring awareness of them through captive breeding and release programmes set up throughout Zimbabwe. In assessing which animals to focus on and where and when to reintroduce them to the wild, the Trust is guided by the principleson captive breeding, outlined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature:

“The vulnerability of small populations has been consistently underestimated. This has erroneously shifted the timing of establishment of captive populations to the last moment, when the crisis is enormous and when extinction is probable. Therefore timely recognition of such situations is critical. Management to best reduce the likelihood of extinction requires the establishment of supporting captive populations much earlier, preferably when the wild population is still in the thousands.”

To introduce these lesser-known endangered species to a wider global audience, an art exhibition will be held in London in May. Acclaimed Zambian wildlife artist Tamryn Pohl has studied and painted the animals at the Tikki Hywood Trust and will be exhibiting an eclectic range of paintings at the exhibition, with a percentage of sales donated to the Trust.

Endangered species to be highlighted at the exhibition include the bat-eared fox, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, serval, African hedgehog, night ape and aardwolf. Due to its critically endangered status, the centerpiece of the exhibition will be the pangolin, but other species that the Tikki Hywood Trust has supported will also feature, including elephant and cheetah.

London: 14 May 2014: Endangered Species of Wildlife Art Exhibition in aid of the TikkiHywood Trust
Venue: Patrick Mavros Gallery, Chelsea, London, SW3 6HS
Charity: Tikki Hywood Trust
Artist: Tamryn Pohl

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
Tikki Hywood Trust

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Traking and saving pangolin (ZT Issue 12, Mar 2013)
Portrait of a pangolin (ZT Issue 12, Mar 2013)

Read more articles from this issue:
Main menu (Issue 16, March 2014)
Full contents listing
Birds & Birding

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Harare Destination Profile
Harare News