Wildlife Rescue - AustraliaAustralia has one of the highest mammal extinction rates in the world
(Sydney, 1 February, 2021) – An Australian teenage artist who watched her country burn in the 2019-20 bushfires hopes her drawings of endangered animals will make people realize the beauty of what we’re losing.
During the devastating bushfires, Tiarn Garland watched on in fear as homes were destroyed and millions of animals perished.
“I remember watching the news and hearing about the rapid escalation in the hectares that had burnt and were still burning and the animals that had perished. It brought tears to my eyes. At the time, it felt as though it would never end,” the now 16-year-old said.
The teenager was inspired to create a piece of art that would strike a chord with people around the world about the disaster that was unfolding in her backyard.
Her drawing, titled ‘Here today, but tomorrow?’ depicted a koala clinging onto a lone branch as bushfires ravaged the forest behind it. The artwork won the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s 2020 global youth art contest.
The contest was held in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“I started to draw endangered animals to try and bring out their beauty, hoping it will make people think about the animals that we are losing on a daily basis due to poaching, fires or destruction of habitat,” Tiarn said.
Inspiring youth to connect with the nature around them
The teenager encourages young people around the world to take part in this year’s art contest which is again being held with CITES and UNDP in celebration of World Wildlife Day on March 3rd. The 2021 theme is: Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet.
“It’s so important for young people to connect with nature, forests and animals because we are the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow,” Tiarn said.
“We need to have an appreciation and connection to the natural environment and the animals around us if we are to ensure they are not only preserved and enjoyed for future generations, but flourish. Otherwise, we will end up permanently destroying what’s around us.”
Danielle Kessler, Acting US Country Office Director of IFAW said: “Through her artwork and voice, Tiarn embodies a fundamental sense of stewardship, so representative of the global youth community with regard to their relationship with the natural world and its diverse wildlife species. Her work captured the beauty yet immense fragility of the ecosystems we must all come together to protect.”
Entries close on February 7th and the winner will be announced as part of an official virtual event held on World Wildlife Day, March 3rd.
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