Explorers against Extinction featuring Sketch for Survival has successfully raised nearly $50,000 US, exceeding pledges made to our conservation partners the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Animals saving Animals back in the Spring.
The money raised for DSWT will help them to continue their work as word leaders in elephant rescue and rehabilitation. DSWT will use the funds where they are most needed. To give some idea, we will be able to donate a sum of of £17,450 to the DSWT (subject to all artwork money being safely received over the coming weeks). This is enough to fund more than eleven elephant rescues (based on average cost of a rescue) or to care for two orphan elephants for a whole year.
For ASA we will be able to fund a new tracker dog, a Spaniel, for the not-for-profit Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The new dog will join an established canine unit trained by ASA. We will also be able to fulfill our pledge to supply Rhino Conservation Botswana with the first ever canine rhino protection squad - a team of two triple role Belgian Malinois dogs will be deployed by ASA after initial training is completed in the UK. We anticipate these dogs to be active in Botswana as early as summer 2018 and look very forward to bringing you updates on their progress along with some of the other ASA #FrontlineK9s, like Vaala, also funded by the Real Africa Trust and now working in Save Valley Zimbabwe.
The Explorers against Extinction event which took place in London at the historic Royal Geographical Society with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Colonel John Blashford-Snell on Thursday 12 October was a sell out. Special guests included adventurer Charley Boorman and television presenter Liz Bonnin, who both contributed sketches to Sketch for Survival. We were delighted to welcome William Stanley, great grandson of HM Stanley and to exhibit a number of rare items from the RGS Stanfords archive from the Stanley/Livingstone expedition of 1871. We were also joined by a number of young explorers and adventurers: Pip Stewart, Jamie Berry, Ash Bhardwaj, Leon McCarron and Laura Bingham.
Guests enjoyed wonderfully entertaining presentations from our headline speakers, Sir Ran and Colonel John before watching the UK public premiere of the moving DSWT 40th Anniversary film and hearing from Rhino Conservation Botswana about the rhino relocation in the Okavango. The evening concluded with a live demo in the theatre by ASA - a first for the RGS - with anti-poaching dog Caesar showing off just some of his skills. ASA were on hand with trainers and handlers throughout the evening introducing guests to Caesar and Shetani, just two of the future #FrontlineK9s being trained currently by ASA.
All 163 Sketch for Survival artworks were on display throughout the RGS - in the Map Room, Theatre, Ambulatory, Sunley and Drayson Rooms. These artworks were donated by 152 artists across a dozen countries.
Notable lots included Dame Judi Dench's watercolour which sold for £2,400, Stephen Fry's felt-tip rhino which sold for £500, Gary Hodges beautiful embellished elephant print co-signed by Virginia McKenna, 'The Charge' which was auctioned live on the night by Sotheby's Tom Eddison for £2,200 and Rob Teeling's evocative wild dog which sold for £1,900. A number of celebrity and explorer sketches including Sir Ranulph Fiennes' attracted fierce bidding in the final moments of the auction on Sunday night. Sir Ran's lot eventually sold for £650 while Levison Wood's beautiful lion went from £200 to its final hammer price of £440 in the final 10 minutes.
We are extremely grateful to all our artists, and also to all those who registered on the iRostrum auction site and took part in the bidding. Thank you for your support.
We've been overwhelmed by the response to the campaign - our three pop up exhibitions in Norwich, London and Bath prior to the event at the RGS were warmly received and well attended - even making local television news. We've also been covered in the national and local press and in a number of travel magazines. We've reached over 100,000 people on Facebook alone which has helped to raise awareness about species extinction and the threats facing many iconic species including elephant, rhino and lion.
We will continue to add to the fund-raising total in the coming months selling merchandise in aid of our projects via The Real World Store. One of our partners, Stanfords, the travel map and book specialist is also selling reusable water bottles and coffee mugs with a donation to Explorers against Extinction, as well as having collection pots at all their till points in London and Bristol.
We are already making plans for the next Explorers against Extinction event and look very forward to updating you in due course.
Please find a gallery of images from the event below:
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