Louis Masai at London Zoo
For the past two weeks, our good friend Louis Masai
has been painting a series of huge murals in a shadowy, forgotten corner of London Zoo (actually the Nuffield building, home to the Institute of Zoology). Visitors emerging from the underpass will see the grey, brutalist walls transformed, brought to life by six rare and endangered species. These are animals you may not have encountered before
: species that are on the EDGE of Existence
If we want to conserve (and restore) Earth’s incredible natural diversity (which we do), it’s important to do more than just focus on the world’s best known species and most iconic wild places. The legions of obscure, enigmatic species that are in decline around the world – and the countless vital ecosystems and habitats that are disappearing with them – deserve our attention as much as the more celebrated species.
Zoos and programmes like ZSL’s EDGE of Existence play a major role in conserving these oft-forgotten species and directing conservation action to places that might otherwise not be reached. Louis’s extraordinary patchwork murals bring six of these species to life.
Bringing more conservation attention and funding to some of the world’s forgotten and unloved species and ecosystems is at the heart of our work at Synchronicity Earth, which is why, with Louis, we approached ZSL to collaborate on this project.
Why are we doing this?
Conservation on the ground where it is most needed is vital, but work being done around the world can be amplified by what we do closer to home. We want to be part of a movement to champion biodiversity, to celebrate the role of abundant species populations and healthy ecosystems, not just for what they provide for us – think food, water, shelter, air to breathe, wellbeing – but also for their own intrinsic value and right to exist on our planet. Alongside our Conservation Programmes, by collaborating with artists, institutions like ZSL and a range of conservation NGOs, our goal is to:
What can we achieve?
Our aims for this collaboration are:
To provide a platform for beautiful and thought-provoking art
Louis’s murals will be seen by millions of visitors to the Zoo, school groups and ZSL employees for years to come.
To highlight the ZSL EDGE programme
The best zoos play a key role in conserving many threatened species around the world, and ZSL’s Edge of Existence is a great example of some of the fantastic work being done.
To shine a light on our relationship with nature
Despite knowing more about our impact on the natural world than ever before, there is no coherent movement to highlight the importance of biodiversity, to ensure that for all that nature gives to us, we are giving it a fair deal in return. We want to help ensure that biodiversity gets the attention it deserves.
To celebrate conservation success stories
The EDGE Programme, Synchronicity Earth and many others are achieving incredible conservation successes around the world. Conservation does work, it’s not all doom and gloom, but we need to do more, which is why we want to spread the #ConservationOptimism message far and wide.
Learn more about each of the EDGE species and the project on this resource page from Conservation Optimism.
To inspire anyone and everyone to become a conservationist, whoever they are.
We don’t think you necessarily need a PhD in Conservation Biology to be a conservationist. Artists, consumers, school children, parents, gardeners, pub landlords, you and me…even politicians: we can all be conservationists!
Click the gallery below to see the species.