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ARTFOR CONSERVATIONAuthor: Lauren McEnery - Invicta Wildlife FundAfrica Wildlife Art (AWA) is an online art gallery launching on 15 December 2022, showcasing original artwork by some of the best wildlife artists in the world. Run by Invicta Wildlife Fund, a registered charity and non-profit organisation based between South Africa and the UK, 50 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to select wildlife conservations in Africa. The rest of the funds go to the artists themselves.Wildlife enthusiasts Richard and Lauren McEnery started the project at the end of 2021. They aim to raise funds for well-established African conservations that rely heavily on donations. While doing this, they seek to bridge the gap between conservations in Africa and the rest of the world through transparency and building relationships between on-the-ground projects and their donors. The Project Getting artists on board wasn't a problem since all wildlife artists care deeply for their muses; most were already involved with fundraising for wildlife in some way or another. For example, Sarah Stribbling has a degree in zoology, and Chloe Donovan is a veterinarian. Although many artists live in Africa, top wildlife photographers were contacted and asked to provide reference photos. All of whom provided photos for free, including the likes of Thomas Vijayan and Patsy Weingart. AWA has over 100 artists from around the world and from every continent except Antarctica. They have over 200 original art pieces from watercolour to charcoal, pastel, oil and colour pencil drawings of various mediums and sizes. One of their objectives is to provide a broad price range, allowing everyone to participate in conservation. As such,prices range from £100 to £10,000. By buying an original art piece for yourself or as a gift for someone else, you are supporting vital conservation efforts in Kenya and South Africa. Partnering-up Invicta WF had been working with Wildlife ACT (South Africa) and Project Vulture (South Africa) for some time until meeting Kenya-based wildlife artist Karen Laurence-Rowe, who introduced them to Tsavo Trust (Kenya) and Local Ocean Conservation (Kenya). The charity now passionately supports all four of these key conservations in Africa. Invicta WF has, amoung other things, recently funded 60 children from rural and poorer communities in South Africa to attend a conservation course with Wildlife ACT. Educating rural communities about the importance of conservation is paramount to conservation itself because most of Africa's wildlife is found in rural areas. They have also helped fund the KwaZulu-Natal leopard project, which tracks and monitors leopard densities in South Africa and ensures human-leopard co-existence. Invicta WF is in the process of contributing financially to a vulture project and raising funds to support the work of Tsavo Trust, Local Ocean Turtle Conservation in Kenya. Moving Forward The name meaning "undefeated," Invicta's take on wildlife conservation is a positive one with many exciting plans for the future, including; virtual races, fundraising gala's, wildlife conservation holidays and competitions to be won. To learn more about Invicta WF and the AWA project, visit www.invictawf.org and www.africawildlifeart.com.
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