In his latest news update, Dr Flip Stander, the man renowned for his work to document and protect the Namibian desert lions, proudly announced that due to a steep increase in support and funding towards the Desert Lion Project from within Namibia, he can now proudly say that the project is funded and supported predominantly from within Namibia.
He praised the support from abroad, which remains crucial to the project, but noted that “the fact that Namibians have become involved in the conservation of their desert-adapted lions is a significant development”.
One such funding movement was the opening last Friday night at the Fine Art Gallery in Swakopmund, of the Desert Lion fundraising exhibition. The lion researcher, Dr Stander, was there himself to help open the event.
Support from local artists has been phenomenal, and it is intended that the exhibition will elicit substantial funding for the Desert Lion Project. A broad selection of art works by emerging and established local artists will be on display until 10 December 2013.
There has also been international interest, in the form of wildlife artist Paul Dixon, who is also exhibiting his work.
Local artists include Sigi Kolbe, Anita Roux, Anja Denker, Annika Funke, Karla Kolbe, Betsie van Rensburg as well as Hanne Marrot – Alphers.
Martina von Wenzel of the Fine Art Gallery explained that the gallery has done a similar thing in the past for the desert elephants. It is up to the participating artists of what percentage or fixed amount of the sale of their work is contributed towards the Desert Lion project.
Von Wenzel said the idea for the fundraising exhibition was sparked from a love of cats and her passionate interest in conservation. She hopes that the exhibition will not only raise awareness for the project, but also raise much needed funds.
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Artist Annika Funke
All other photos courtesy of the Desert Lion Project website