Home News News 2024: Four Decades of Species-Saving Conservation

2024: Four Decades of Species-Saving Conservation

In April this year, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. We’re planning to acknowledge this landmark date with an entire year of events and celebrations to showcase four decades of artivism and species-saving work in conservation.

Our anniversary logo

For 2024, we’re giving our beloved logo a new look to mark this historic year. Whilst keeping things familiar enough to still be recognised, you’re among the first to see it ‘out in the wild’. We know that sometimes it can be a little ‘meh’ when an organisation celebrates an anniversary, and that the relevance to the outside world can be hard to gauge. However, as a charity, everything we’ve achieved and done has happened because of the support we get from you. So, we definitely think this is a milestone for us all to celebrate.

Having made it this far, hopefully it’s an important reminder that you can rely on, and trust us, to continue the fight to end wildlife crime and protect iconic species in their natural environment.

The 40th anniversary logo accentuates our familiar branding yet introduces a bolder orange first used when we launched our new website. It will also be the basis of a new colour palette and other brand elements we’ll be rolling out in 2024 – so watch this space!

This subtle colouration also puts emphasis on the elephant part of our logo, a species synonymous with both our founder, and our work.

What you can look forward to

  1. Events

So, as we’ve already hinted, 2024 is going to be a big year for us – but it’s going to get bigger! Our first event is coming up soon – Quiz for a Cause, which will be taking place in our home village of Shalford within the Surrey Hills National Landscape. This wildlife-themed quiz night will be hosted by actor and DSWF Conservation Ambassador David Oakes. Tickets are £15 and there’s an early-bird ticket offer to whet your appetite (alongside a bowl of warming chilli) even further. Find out more here.

Our ever-popular Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition will be returning to the Mall Galleries – this time, in July, as we fully embrace summer in the city. We’ll be holding our signature, invite-only preview night and awards ceremony to open the week-long exhibition, which will feature events and celebrations of our anniversary year throughout. And if you’re part of our community of artists, don’t worry – you still have until March 11 to get your submission in.

‘Running for their lives’ performed by Laura Wright and Emily Lamb at our 2023 Wildlife Ball.

And… you shall go to the ball! We’re pleased to announce that our premier event – the DSWF Ball, will be returning to its pre-COVID November date. You can expect a showcase celebrating our four decades of work and everything you’ve helped us achieve. We’ll also be honouring David, his legacy, and the future of DSWF. Look out for announcements coming soon or sign up here to be kept up to date.

Life changing and species-saving appeals

We also want to encourage you to get involved with, and support, our 40th anniversary appeals. This year, we’ll be looking to continue funding pioneering research that could safeguard the snow leopard. As the only UK charity partnered with the Snow Leopard Trust – one of the leading authorities in snow leopard conservation, we have been honoured to follow in the tracks (literally) of one of the best studied snow leopards in the world – our wild ambassador, Dagina. Now, we want to grow that research and impact for all her kind. For a sneak peek into their world, you can catch up with Planet Earth III, featuring Dagina’s daughter and her cubs here.

After Easter, we turn our attention to a crisis impacting us all – climate change. As the last twelve months have shown unprecedented levels of devastating wildfires, floods, droughts, and wildlife die offs, we should be in no doubt that our world is on the brink. This appeal will highlight not just how the species we champion have been affected, but also how they and the projects we support, and fund, are mitigating the effect of climate change and helping us fight back against its effects.

Then, in September, we’ll be raising funds in memory of David Shepherd and the species most associated with him – his beloved elephants. For the “man who loved giants”, these animals more than any other compelled him to dedicate his life to conservation. In Africa alone, their numbers have fallen from 25 million to 415,000 since 1930. Targeted for their ivory, as bushmeat, and in retaliatory killings for crop raiding, they face a challenge for their very survival on every front. It was also in September 2017 that we lost David, giving this appeal extra special relevance for everyone at DSWF and many of our supporters.

A little history

In 1984, David Shepherd – the renowned and celebrated wildlife artist founded what is now DSWF. Some 35 years earlier, after travelling to Kenya only to have his dream of becoming a game warden snubbed, his prospects (in his own words) were “to drive buses or starve as an artist”. Luckily, choosing the latter, he was able to return to Kenya and complete his first commission – a painting of a rhino chasing an RAF twin pioneer aircraft down a runway in Nairobi.

Whilst stationed in Kenya, David witnessed the devastation of human impact on wildlife, when he discovered a watering hole that had been poisoned by poachers, with herds of zebra and gazelle all dead. He became a committed conservationist overnight (although we strongly suspect he already was one!). Dedicating his talent and efforts to wildlife art, it changed not only the path of his career but also that of his life.

As he saw success upon success, returning much of the profit he generated to conservation – he always felt compelled to pay tribute to the incredible animals that both he and his audience admired so much. DSWF was founded to ensure as much could be done as possible to FIGHT wildlife crime, PROTECT iconic species in their natural habitat, and ENGAGE people through a global platform. We are proud to continue his legacy.

Image Credit: Becky Thomas.

Thank you

Thank you to our dedicated supporters, fundraisers, artists, partners, and sponsors for making the work we support and fund so impactful. We could not do it without you, and we can’t wait to celebrate our exciting 40th year of artivism together.

Quiz for a Cause

22 March | 7 – 10 pm | Shalford Village Hall

Celebrating 40 years of DSWF! Expect to be challenged, entertained, and wined & dined all for a good cause, just like the name suggests!

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