Stunning artwork shows giant portrait of a lion made up of hundreds of photos of other animals | The Sun
13th March 2023

THE king of the jungle has never looked so regal as he does in this stunning piece of artwork.

A giant portrait of a lion has been created by artist, Nathan Wyburn, made up of hundreds of photographs of animals – including giraffes, tigers and elephants.

The artwork was commissioned to celebrate 50 years of West Midland Safari Park, which has been home to all of the animals featured in the image of the large cat, created from an original photograph taken by the park’s senior designer and photographer, Matt Lissimore.

It comes after a study of 2,000 adults found 45 per cent are clueless about which animals are on the brink of extinction – with many believing the giant panda and southern white rhino are close to disappearing from the planet forever.   

Nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) admitted they know 'little' or 'nothing' about the world's most endangered species.

And the average adult believes there are 13,128 vulnerable species in the wild – when there are in fact more than 40,000.

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It also emerged just 14 per cent think the Yangtze finless porpoise is endangered, while just six per cent said the same of the vaquita.

But while 48 per cent couldn't list which animals are thriving, 69 per cent would like to learn more about wildlife endangerment.

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With 46 per cent keen to do their bit to support conservation.

Vikki Green, from West Midland Safari Park, which also commissioned the research, said: “This striking image of the regal lion, combined with the report findings, really show how important our wildlife is to the planet.

“With our park celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it’s vital to raise awareness of endangered species around the world and encourage people to support the cause.

"It has been home to hundreds of animals, including several critically endangered species.

“The fact there are over 40,000 species currently under threat is shocking and we must do what we can to protect our precious wildlife before it’s too late.”

The study also found 37 per cent are keen to get involved with groups to help threatened species, with 51 per cent inspired by organisations supporting and working with endangered animals to do the same.

But sadly, 76 per cent believe the likes of climate change and the cost-of-living crisis have more recently taken priority over protecting wildlife.

It emerged 24 per cent would feel ‘helpless’ if their favourite animal became endangered and a fifth would be ‘angry’.

Poaching (31 per cent), deforestation (27 per cent) and climate change (14 per cent) were cited as the top reasons responsible for the endangerment of animals, according to the study.

As many as 75 per cent think more needs to be done to protect the planet’s wildlife, even though 60 per cent claim it is inevitable that certain species will become extinct someday.

When it comes to the national curriculum, 52 per cent of those with children said the conversation to safeguard the world’s endangered species needs to be a bigger focus.

And 24 per cent feel regretful at the thought of their child never having the chance to see their favourite animal if they became extinct.

Vikki Green added: “It’s good to see adults and children aware of the current situation and that more action is needed to protect animals.

“Since opening 50 years ago, our park has seen over 30 million visitors, supported numerous successful conservation programmes, and we’ve been lucky to be able to contribute to breeding programmes such as the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP).

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"Animals born in our care help conserve healthy populations of wildlife while safeguarding their genetic health.

"Visiting a collection such as ours is a great way to learn about wildlife while also getting involved in the wider community to help protect our planet’s precious creatures."

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