Creating awareness to the Namibian youngest audience with cartoons – poaching

As you are reading this, millions of species worldwide are being killed or taken from their native habitat. Poaching poses a big threat to many animals like elephants and rhino, as well as to smaller and more incomprehensible creatures, like lizards, snakes and pangolins. The topic on poaching can at times be complex and difficult to explain to the young children. But TOSCO and PAKO teamed up to make learning fun while explaining the importance of conservation and looking after Namibia’s natural resources and wildlife through cartoons.

Why animals are poached

Some animals are captured alive to be sold as exotic pets. Some other animals, on the other hand, are slaughtered for a commercial value, such as food, jewelry, décor or traditional medicine. 

The effects of poaching

Poaching has various effects; the most direct impact is extinction resulting in a natural imbalance. Every single animal has a specific function in the environment. By removing these animals, an imbalance of the natural environment is created.

Another negative effect of poaching is on rangers charged with protecting wildlife. Poachers are mostly armed, leading to the possibility of rangers getting wounded or gunned down.

Efforts to stop poaching

Besides providing on-the-ground protection, countries like Namibia, have developed programs to convert past poachers to rangers. There are organizations that are promoting sustainable alternatives to poachering to help people earn a fair living.   

Several laws have also been put in place to penalize illegal poaching.

But to further the importance of stopping poaching, TOSCO and PAKO joined forces to raise awareness amongst Namibians children on the importance of looking after the environment and its wildlife. In partnership with international artists, like Juan Bellorin, they create exciting comics which makes the message more accessible and fun through storytelling.

“We believe that teaching the next generation at an early age will make them become proactive adults who are concerned about the welfare of the environment they live in”. 

The  Venezuelan lawyer and artist, Juan Vicente Bellorin met up with us to  tells  his story of how he became a comic creator after graduating from law at the “Universidad de los Andes”, and how he decided to hang out his tie and take the brushes instead to create stories. 

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Storytelling with Watercolor

Alice Colson grew up in the western part of France, the Loire Valley. As a child growing up in an art-loving family, she always enjoyed drawing and painting. She tried different styles of arts, like animation, ceramics and music, to discover which one of them will be better for her.  As a teenager she also took cello lessons and prepare all the big “exams” to get admitted in the Beaux-Arts (arts school). Even though she got selected to study arts, she leaned towards a public administration and political science school in Bordeaux. 

Alice Colson – TOSCO Team member

In 2019 destiny brought her to Namibia and she felt reconnected with nature and wildlife. She really enjoys the country and all the beautiful landscapes that the country has to offer.

“There are some many different landscapes, from the north to the south it varies at lot” . 

Alice

Nowadays she is developing an activity as an illustrator in parallel of her main job which is related to water resources protection and management, climate change and conservation. All this experience gives her extra motivation at the moment to work on her illustrations. 

Why using watercolors?

I like it because it very nomad. It’s very light and it fits anywhere, which allows you to take it with you wherever you go. You just need paper, water and the watercolors. I also like the contact between the water and the colors. I love finding the balance between both of them. Too much water is not good for the drawing but too little is not good either.

I’m a fast painter; I don’t see myself doing oils paintings for example… It takes several weeks to finish one piece. You have to paint, and then wait for it to dry to continue. I’m a bit impatience myself, I think.  

I also wish to tell some stories or sending messages with my paintings. So, I believe it’s easier to transmit strong messages about sensitive topics with watercolors. 

What styles are reflected in your art?

One of my styles is a quite naïve way of drawing. Clear lines, very simple faces with very clear faces expressions. I have 3 identities: the first one more classic comic stretch, the second one is more children oriented, a naïve one, and the third one is landscapes and nature, (that are in my surroundings). I feed my art with these 3 identities. 

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Success of Lion Ranger pilot project

Jun2012 lightOnly one dead cow in 2013! Since the start of the lion officer programme end of 2012 only one farmer lost one cow to lions in the Puros conservancy.

All over Africa, lions are killed by local people whose livelihood is threatened by lions. Whereas we all have an interest in the lions and the wild places they live in, the local people bear the costs, e. g. when lions eat their cattle and goats or elephants raid their crops. And they retaliate by killing lions.

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