The WWF estimate that around 20,000 African elephants are killed each year for their ivory - an average of 55 a day (https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/wildlife/african-elephants). During the 1970’s large-scale poaching of black rhinos saw their populations decline from around 70,000 to 2,410 in 1995 - a 96% decline over that 25 year period (https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/black-rhino). The current population of black rhinos is now 5,458 resulting from successful conservation efforts over the more recent 25 years, but these wonderful animals still need help - especially if we want the next generation to grow up with them (https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/black-rhino).
This is why the workshop this week focussed on elephants and rhinos which the little ones thoroughly enjoyed. They learnt about where they live and what they eat, as well as why both of these incredibly beautiful animals are endangered, so it’s probably not surprising that we spent a fair bit of time talking about tusks and habitat loss.
After we’d done a number of sketches and made all of our animals look quite Christmassy, one child found a box with animal figurines, tipped it up and collected all of the elephants and rhinos he could find. He then carefully placed them in a line on top of a large rhino sketch lying next to the Christmas tree. It was so interesting to see the connection he was making between using his own artistic creativity and finding the physical representations of the animals in question, then showing me each time where their tusks were. Role reversal; he was making sure that I was aware of how important these creatures are, as well as their tusks.
It was another great morning spent with such a lovely and engaging group of small people, so thank you very much for having me Nursery.