A new art exhibition opening in Thixendale on Saturday (7 November) aims to raise awareness for the plight of creatures in crisis.
The event features lifelike paintings of endangered species from around the globe by Yorkshire wildlife artist and former Woldgate School pupil Robert Fuller.
The artist, who is a committed conservationist, hopes to offer visitors practical advice on what they can do to help the animals on their own doorsteps.
“Wildlife everywhere is in crisis. Here in the UK there are species that we take for granted, like sparrows and hedgehogs, which could disappear altogether if we don’t do something,” explained Mr Fuller.
“It will soon be Christmas. I’m hoping that visitors to my exhibition will embrace the seasonal spirit of giving to do what they can to help nature.”
A report by the World Wildlife Fund this autumn suggested the world has already lost 52% of species.
Mr Fuller, who travels the globe to study animals for his paintings, will also exhibit his photographs of endangered wildlife from around the world, including pictures of rare desert elephants photographed in Namibia this August.
The best of his research video into animal behaviour will also be on show, among them engaging footage of endangered species. “If I can show people how wonderful the wildlife that I watch is, I hope they will want to preserve them as much as I do,” Mr Fuller said.
The artist, who is a founding member of a conservation group on the Yorkshire Wolds to protect barn owls and works with rehabilitation centres to restore orphaned and injured species to the wild, plans to use his exhibition to show visitors how to protect British species via information boards and workshops.
“When so many species are struggling, sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin,” said Mr Fuller. “But there are plenty of things people can do in their own gardens that will make a big difference. I hope my exhibition will show them how.”
Mr Fuller’s own garden in Thixendale is testament to what can be achieved. Since he moved there in 1998 his tree sparrow population has flourished. Tree sparrows are endangered in the UK, but his regime of planting woodland and wildflowers, digging a pond and putting up bird feeders and nest boxes has ensured the future of local populations.
A number of nature walks, falconry lessons and birdwatching safaris accompany the exhibition.
Saving Nature: Near and Far runs from 7-29 November at The Robert Fuller Gallery, Fotherdale Farm, Thixendale.