Aug 13, 2020
Prints For Wildlife
100 Photographers, one cause - a print fundraiser to spread hope for nature in times of COVID-19.
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A group of acclaimed international wildlife photographers, from Botswana to Australia, have come together, uniting in response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, for an incredible cause… offering their art for sale, in an unprecedented print fundraiser, to support local communities and wildlife in some of Africa’s most special protected areas.
“The key to conservation is putting people at the heart of the solution, with community programs supporting health, education, job security, and sustainable livelihoods. African Parks, and their approach to conservation in working closely with partners and communities, is ensuring that the protected areas under their management are safe places where people and wildlife can flourish. When the entire world plunged into crisis with the outbreak of COVID-19, I was moved to bring together some of the best wildlife photographers on the planet to use the power of art to contribute to conserving some of the most precious ecosystems in Africa” Pie Aerts, Prints for Wildlife Co-founder and Photographer.
“Support conservation and build awareness of these extraordinary places”
At the beginning of 2020, Africa’s tourism sector looked set for a successful year. The continent had the world’s second fastest growing tourism industry and was projected to rake in billions of dollars. But when COVID-19 struck, tourists stopped coming and the industry ground to a sudden halt. The hidden side of this downfall in the safari industry, was the direct effect it had on wildlife and conservation. The continent’s tourism industry is vital to funding wildlife conservation efforts across the continent. Money from sources like national park fees and safari bookings are vital to wildlife conservation. Without the tourists money is running out to fund essential anti-poaching patrols and unemployment is causing further problems.
As the reports came in about the devastating impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions on ecotourism, local economies and conservation in Africa, two photographers from Austria and the Netherlands decided to take action. Marion Payr and Pie Aerts joined forces to start a print fundraiser to support people and wildlife in parks managed by partnerships between Governments and conservation non-profit African Parks.
“When COVID-19 began to spread across the world all of my travel projects came to an immediate halt. As a travel photographer I reached out to my diverse client base about what they were experiencing and their feedback served as poignant reminders of the link between tourism and conservation. This was the spark that ignited the idea for “Prints for Wildlife” to join forces through art in the absence of tourism to support conservation and build awareness of these extraordinary places” Marion Payr, Prints for Wildlife Co-founder and Photographer
Africa Parks was founded in 2000 with the goal of managing African National Parks through a ‘public-private partnership model’, where they manage parks on behalf of Governments for the benefit of local communities. The model is simple. They enter into on average 20-year management agreements to be fully responsible and accountable for all aspects of park management. That means protecting wildlife, providing law enforcement, supporting and investing in communities, and enacting long-term financing solutions. With 18 parks in 11 countries, they are protecting more than 14 million hectares, and they are working to have 30 parks under management by 2030.
Marion Payr and Pie Aerts reached out to a wide network of wildlife photographers and set in motion an unprecedented campaign to raise support for the protection of these critical wild ecosystems. The group consists of some of the best wildlife photographers in the world, from 24 different countries spanning Africa, Europe, North America, Australia and Asia with a combined reach of over 9 million followers on Instagram.
The print fundraiser titled “Prints for Wildlife” launched on 26th of July 2020 and features 90+ photos from acclaimed wildlife photographers. Each of the photographers has donated one limited fine art print to the fundraiser, which will be sold for $100 through the online shop, “Prints for Wildlife”. 100% of the proceeds, after printing and handling, will be donated to African Parks for their conservation. Since the launch of the campaign on 26th July over $390,000 has been raised.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 18 national parks and protected areas covering over 14.1 million hectares in 11 countries: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Zambia. For more information visit www.africanparks.org, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook