An Isle of Wight-based artist is celebrating the shortlisting of her pen drawing by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation judges in the Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards 2021.

Jen Parker, who is based in Newport, launched Wild Lines in September 2019. With a background in zoology and wildlife conservation, Jen is passionate about the natural world. By sharing optimistic conservation stories alongside original illustrations, Jen hopes to foster a sense of connection with the natural world.

The selected piece features a charming young Brazilian tapir. As ecological engineers, tapirs change the structure of plant communities and play an important role in dispersing seeds over long distances.

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Today, three species of tapir live in South America and one in Asia. Populations of each species have reduced by more than 30 percent over the last 30 years or so – a minuscule proportion of their 20-million-year history. Following years of research to learn more about these elusive mammals, conservation efforts are focused primarily on restoring habitat and reducing hunting.

Jen said:

“I am delighted to have been chosen as a finalist for the renowned competition, which always features an amazing variety of work. There were more than 2,300 entries this year; I am humbled to know that my tapir will be part of the exhibition and support wildlife conservation initiatives across Africa and Asia.

“I see the juvenile tapir as a symbol of optimism for wildlife in a world in crisis. Now more than ever, we need hope that together we can protect and restore our natural world. I hope that the sparkle in his eye is passed on to the viewer as we look towards a bright and biodiverse future!”

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