Actress and author Alicia Silverstone announces 2023 World Wildlife Day International Youth Art Contest winner.
Poonyisa Sodsai, age 13, of Thailand brings attention to the plight of endangered hornbills with her colorful artwork. Chosen as the winner of the 2023 World Wildlife Day International Youth Art Contest from more than 1,000 contestants from nearly 90 countries across the globe, Poonyisa’s illustration celebrates Thailand’s bird of love.
“In Thailand, we admire the hornbill as a symbol of love,” Sodsai said. “I don’t want hornbills to disappear from nature. I want hornbills to stay in the forests forever.”
This year marks the fifth annual World Wildlife Day International Youth Art Contest. It is hosted by IFAW in collaboration with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
“The theme for this year’s contest, partnerships for wildlife conservation, highlights people making a difference for wildlife, whether local, national, or global,” says IFAW President and CEO Azzedine Downes.
The art, created by hand using markers, crayons, colored pencils, and/or paint, focuses on species that benefit from people working together to protect and conserve them. The contest was open to artists ages 4 to 18.
Alicia Silverstone, actor, author, activist, and contest judge announced this year’s contest winner. “Every single thing I saw was so beautiful,” she said. “It was so hard to pick. This year the theme shines a spotlight on all those people and partnerships who are making a difference for wildlife and the natural world today.”
See this year's finalists and winner for each age category:
The contest is part of World Wildlife Day, held every March 3 to celebrate the world’s endangered animals and plants and how they contribute to the betterment of the planet. This year, March 3 also marks the 50th anniversary of CITES.
“These young artists of all ages have reminded us that today is an occasion where we acknowledge the importance of all wildlife species—especially those threatened or endangered—around the world and how critical partnerships are in ensuring their continued survival for generations to come,” said Downes.
The plight of endangered species is a sad reality, but Downes highlights that people have the power to make a difference for wildlife. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the negative news that you hear every day in the media,” he said. “I want to leave you with a message of hope. There are things we can do. We can do them as individuals and we can save lives through organizations like IFAW.”