An internationally exhibited photograph of a leopard, by world-renowned South African filmmaker and photographer Beverley Joubert, is helping to put the spotlight on endangered species. Joubert’s Eye of the Leopard, which is valued at R20 000 – R30 000, will be auctioned by Stephan Welz & Co. on Tuesday 26 May and a substantial percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the initiative Rhinos without Borders, a partnership between Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond for the protection of African rhinos.
The image was shot in the Okavango Delta on Chefs Island in 2003, during the filming of National Geographic’s Eye of the Leopard, which documents the leopard cub Legadema’s journey to adulthood. It has been exhibited at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. and at the Galerie du Lion in Orléans, France. The photograph depicts Legadema’s mother at her den watching an approaching group of baboons. Well camouflaged, she slunk backwards to protect her cub shortly after this photograph was taken.
Joubert is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and conservationist who has exhibited internationally in London, New York, Washington D.C. and France. Her work has appeared in over 100 magazines worldwide. Together with her filmmaker husband Dereck Joubert, they have been awarded eight Emmys, the World Ecology Award alongside Prince Charles and Richard Leakey in 2009 and the Presidential Order for meritorious service by the President of Botswana.
“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” said Dereck Joubert, who along with his wife, are behind an emergency action fund to drive the world’s attention to big cats.
“All wildlife is precious,” said Beverley Joubert. “We support Rhinos Without Borders because we are simply running out of time to save this majestic species, with one rhino being poached every 7.5 hours. This is a project of hope; an investment in the future of not only a species, but also in Africa.”
“Many professional wildlife photographers create either aesthetically beautiful work that captures the essence and spirit of animals in their natural habitat or thought provoking photo journalism, thereby raising awareness of the plight of wildlife in the public arena,” said Sophie-Louise Fröhlich, Head of Photography at Stephan Welz & Co. “Eye of the Leopard is not just an arresting and interesting photograph of a leopard, but has a story behind it and will be used towards contributing to making a difference in preventing the extinction of rhinos.”
With all five species of rhinos perilously close to extinction, the rate of their decline is truly astounding: in the decade of the 1970s alone, half the world’s rhino population disappeared. Today, less than 15% of the 1970 population remains, an estimated 10,000 to 11,000 worldwide, which is why funds raised through the sale of the Joubert photograph will benefit Rhinos without Borders. The initiative aims to relocate at least 100 rhinos from South African to Botswana, the country with the lowest poaching rate in Africa, to save them from the poaching crisis. A dedicated anti-poaching rhino squad has been established to protect and monitor these animals, which will help to ensure the survival of the species and gene pool.
The auction will take place in The Great Cellar, Alphen Estate, Alphen Drive, Constantia on Tuesday 26 May and Wednesday 27 May 2015. Pre-auction viewing is open to the public from Wednesday 20May to Sunday 24 May, 10am – 5pm. Catalogues will be available from both the Cape Town and Johannesburg offices as well as the Stephan Welz & Co. website www.stephanwelzandco.co.za.
Anyone who can’t attend the auction in person can bid for pieces online via www.the-saleroom.com, a leading portal for live art and antiques auctions. Users of the website can search catalogues and place their bids over the internet in real-time, with live audio and video from the auction room.
Follow Stephan Welz & Co. on Twitter @StephanWelzCo or like them on facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephan-Welz-and-Company-Fine-and-Decorative-Arts-Auctioneers/247148731975902.
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