MIKE MATTHEWS ARTWORKS

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"STANDING UP FOR THE PROTECTION OF OTHER ANIMALS REQUIRES TIME, LOVE AND COURAGE.  IGNORING THEM REQUIRES NOTHING"  
Anthony Douglas Williams


Fundraising for animals is something that is really important to me.  Ever since I can remember I've had a passion for animals, especially tigers. But that passion was mainly made up of reading books, watching David Attenborough programmes and visiting the occasional zoo.  But all that changed in 2008 when I did a Ranger for the Day experience at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent and I haven't looked back since!  Not only do I spend virtually every Saturday volunteering at WHF but I decided there and then that I couldn't just sit back and watch animals disappear from the planet without trying to do something to help them.  And so, with the help of my good friend Andy Porter the idea of A CALL FOR NATURE was born.  Our aim is to be One Call to get all animal lovers, charities and wildlife collections working together to act as One Voice for Nature.  After all, the only way we can save the worlds fauna and flora is to be united together.  


A Call For Nature is still in it's infancy.  The first step is to encourage people to be proud to show their support for the world's endangered animals, so I have designed my unique A Call For Nature range of t-shirts and other conservation themed apparel, which I hope people will be proud to wear.   Proud because it depicts their favourite animal and proud because they know that by purchasing the t-shirt a large portion of the profits from every sale have been donated to at least one of the designated non-profit organisations listed below.  And that is my promise.  These t-shirts are currently only available online via this website but in future will be available at selected retail outlets across the world, on the understanding that funds are donated to conservation from every sale.  The second step is to encourage people to support the below mentioned non-profit organisations and to encourage these charities to work together.  Just by these charities promoting my website via social media, they will be indirectly showcasing my support for the other charities to their own supporters, who in-turn will become aware and hopefully follow and support further organisations.  And of course, every t-shirt they purchase I will donate funds to the designated charity - a bit of cross-pollination if you like!  You can view my full A Call For Nature range here


Please also follow A Call For Nature on Facebook



2017 Fundraising



I am delighted to announce that A Call For Nature has joined forces with Walk-a-thon Limited to create a number of unique fundraising walking events, including a Guinness World Record attempt to get more than 265,000 people all walking at the same time in an organised event for wildlife.  This will be part of our WILDLIFE AWARENESS WEEK in MAY 2017.


For more details, please visit the Walk 4 Wildlife website by clicking on the below image.  Thank you.


Below is a list of the organisations that A Call For Nature is supporting to save the world's wildlife and why I have chosen them. 

BIG CATS

Back in 2013 and 2014 I dropped all my inhibitions and took part in ZSL's STREAK FOR TIGERS.  I raised just over £21,000 which went towards Sumatran Tiger Conservation and towards WHF's tiger and snow leopard enclosure improvements.  Running naked in public is not something that I would normally dream about doing, but if doing something as extreme as that saves just 1 tiger from a poachers snare, then it would be worth all the humiliation and embarrassment that I endured.   Big cats have always held a fascination with me, and so I am supporting the below organisations to try and save them.  When you understand that in maybe less than 20 years, most of the wild big cats could be extinct, it really brings it home.  With less than 3,200 Tigers, maybe just 4,000 Snow Leopards, 50 Amur Leopards, 7,500 Cheetahs, 12,000 Jaguars, 10,000 Clouded Leopards and 20,000 Lions left on earth, something urgently needs to be done to save these magnificent predators from habitat destruction, poaching for their fur and body parts and from loss of prey.  And this is what the below organisations all aim to do and why I am proud to support them all.


The Big Cat Sanctuary is the UK's largest specialist big cat breeding centre where I have personally been volunteering and fundraising since 2008.  They have become a centre of excellence for breeding the rare Amur Leopard and to date have successfully bred and raised Amur Leopard cubs,  Sumatran and Amur Tiger cubs, Pallas Cat and Serval kittens and most recently White Lion cubs.  They are hoping to successfully mate their 2 Snow Leopards in 2015.   They are part of the European Endangered Breeding Programme and offer guests the opportunity for up close encounters with big cats.


21st Century Tiger is the UK's leading tiger charity based at ZSL which raises funds for tiger conservation.  They channel money raised by the international zoo community,  public and corporate supporters, to carefully chosen wild tiger conservation projects which provide the best conservation value and make the most difference.  To help, I have designed and donated some of my tiger artwork and t-shirts to them, which you can purchase via my webstore.


The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) are also based at ZSL and are working to protect both Amur Leopards and Tigers, two of the most magnificent and endangered Big Cats in the world.  ALTA is formed of 15 international and Russian NGOs all working to support conservation of Amur leopards and tigers in the wild.  ALTA channels money raised by the international zoo community, public and corporate sponsors to four implementing agencies working to save these magnificent and threatened animals.  Just like with 21st Century Tiger, I have been designing and selling merchandise to raise funds from ALTA, which is available via my webstore.


The Snow Leopard Trust is the largest and oldest organisation working solely to protect the endangered snow leopard and its habitat in 12 countries of Central Asia. The Trust is a non-profit organisation with its headquarters in Seattle.  The present total population of snow leopards in the wild is estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500.  They donate the proceeds from the sale of products sold via their website shop to provide a sustainable income to communities in snow leopard habitat and help reduce poaching and other threats to these cats.  I have donated profits from the sale of some of my snow leopard items to SLT.


Panthera was founded in 2006 and is devoted exclusively to the conservation of wild cats and their ecosystems. Utilising the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and

implements global conservation strategies for the largest, and some of the most imperiled cats – tigers, lions, jaguars, snow leopards, leopards, cougars and cheetahs. Representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind, Panthera works in partnership with local and international NGOs, scientific institutions, local communities and governments around the globe.


LionAid are at the forefront of highlighting the true plight of lion populations, canned/captive hunting and the trophy hunting trade.  Based in the UK, they are dedicated to the conservation and protection of wild lion populations. With approximately 93% of wild lion populations having been killed or died in the last 50 years, the work LionAid does by working directly with local communities, leaders and politicians in Africa as well as key decission makers and politicians in the UK, US, the EU cannot be understated. 


Below is one of the videos I made back in 2014 to help promote my Streak for Tigers fundraising, but more importantly highlight just why big cats are so endangered.  Please be warned the video contains some graphic content.

"What About Us? 

Streak For Tigers fundraising video 2014 by Mike Matthews

Warning - graphic content


WILD DOGS AND BEARS

Dogs are 'man's best friend' so I find it incredible that wild dogs like wolves, foxes and painted dogs are so heavily persecuted and in many cases have been on the brink of extinction.  As a kid I loved fairy tales but often it was a wolf or a fox that was the villain in the story and ultimately met it's death, killed by a hunter (Little Red Riding Hood), drowning down a well (The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids) or being burned alive (The Sly Fox and the Little Red Hen).  So I suppose it's not surprising then that wild dogs are feared.  However, wild dogs like wolves play a very important part in natural ecosystems and without them as top predators, other species, both fauna and flora can suffer, as demonstrated in Yellowstone National Park when wolves were eradicated and very recently re-introduced. 


Bears too have been heavily persecuted over the centuries and many people will be shocked to hear that bear-baiting still happens in parts of the world, as well as imprisoned bears being made to 'dance' for tourists.  These unfortunate animals live short painful lives, often with their teeth and claws ripped out and their noses and moths mutilated from being tied by heavy chains.  If that wasn't bad enough more than 10,000 bears are kept on bile farms in China and South East Asia where they are "milked" regularly for their bile, which is not only used in traditional medicine but also in many ordinary household products. Bile is extracted using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives.  Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages. In China, the cages are sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Some bears are caged as cubs and never released. Bears may be kept caged for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.


I therefore feel that it's incredibly important to support organisations which work hard to protect wild dogs and bears, not just across the world, but on our own doorsteps too.  One of my best times of the day (or night) was when I used to walk my dog and feed our local foxes, many of whom I'd got to know quite well.  To see them stand literally 2 feet away from me and my beagle was amazing.  A fox and a hound together but without the prejudices that man has put on them.


Painted Dog Conservation UK have a mission is to protect and increase the range and numbers of the painted dog (Lycaon pictus) both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa.  They are committed to creating a conservation model built on education, community involvement and international support.  One of the ways they raise money is to import snare wire sculptures from PDC's Iganyana Arts Centre.  These sculptures are made from snares found in the wild and are sculptured into impala, antelope and other native African animals.  They look amazing but what's more they look better on your wall then on the ground in Africa waiting to snare some unfortunate animal.  Please visit their website to see where you can buy one of these sculptures. 


UK Wolf and Conservation Trust aims to enhance public awareness and knowledge of wild wolves and their place in the ecosystem, through research, education and raising funds for wolf related conservation projects around the world.  Based in Reading, UK they offer up-close encounters including the opportunity to 'Walk with Wolves'.


Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam.  They promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change.  Founded in 1998, the Animals Asia team has been rescuing moon bears since 1994 and is the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. Today,  Animals Asia has rescued over 400 bears, caring for them at its award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.


The Fox Project is a registered charity based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK dedicated to the Red Fox.  They provide a wildlife ambulance service to help injured red foxes in the South East of England.  They have an Amazon wish list where you can help them by buying items such as dog food and baby dog powdered milk.  Please support this worthwhile charity.


Polar Bears International have a mission to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. They also work to inspire people to care about the Arctic and its connection to our global climate. They are the leading voice on climate warming impacts to polar bears and their Arctic home while actively seeking solutions through education, advocacy, and action.  For more information about polar bear conservation, please go to www.polarbearsinternational.org and find out how to get involved.”



PRIMATES

Apes like gorillas and orangutans are man's closest living relatives, but unlike big cats, wild dogs and bears, they are no real threat to humans so I really can't understand why these two species of primate have been driven to the brink of extinction.  Their major threat is habitat destruction, with rainforests both in South East Asia and Africa being destroyed for cultivation.  On top of that, gorillas are under threat by living in war-torn areas and from the increasing bush meat trade. Lemurs too, are some of the rarest animals on the planet with almost half of the recognised species either listed as critically endangered or endangered.   Below are the organisations I am supporting to help these magnificent primates and their environments.


Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) was established to help save orangutan populations from extinction in the wild, to protect orangutan habitat and tropical rainforest, and to rehabilitate and release wild-born ex-captive orangutans back to the wild. In addition, OFI works to educate people throughout the world.  Based in Los Angeles, they have been working to save orangutans since 1971.  At threat from loss of habitat, often for cultivation of oil palm and from the pet trade, this ape, just like the gorilla is now critically endangered and so I am proud to support OFI.


Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (MFG) is an international consortium of zoos and other conservation agencies which pool resources to help conserve animal species in Madagascar through captive breeding programmes, field research programs, training programs for rangers and wardens, and acquisition and protection of native habitat in Madagascar. They are the organisation behind the Save The Lemur campaign and is headquartered at the St Louis Zoo in Missouri, USA.


Bambelela (which means “to hold on” in Zulu) was established in 2003 and is a privately owned and operated wildlife rehabilitation and conservation centre in the Waterberg district of South Africa.  Originally formed to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg, now Bambelela has become an official Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Farm for Vervet Monkeys. Their next step is to establish a Vervet Monkey Sanctuary for the Waterberg.

ELEPHANTS & UNGULATES

Large pachyderms such as elephants and rhinos have been in the news recently, sadly for all the wrong reasons with poaching for their ivory and horn at an all time high.  Three of the five species of rhino are now critically endangered and some sub-species of Asian elephant are not fairing much better.  It's vitally important that we support the last remaining 'mega-fauna' on earth before they go the same way as many of their counterparts who disappeared forever after the last ice age.  That's why I am supporting the charities I've listed below.


Helpingrhinos.org is a new UK based charity founded by my good friend Simon Jones which aims to create awareness of the issues threatening the global rhino population and to raise funds to help protect them for future generations.  To help I have designed some unique and original t-shirts for them which are available from my webstore.


Save the Rhino International was formerly registered as a charity in 1994. They work tirelessly to conserve viable populations of critically endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia by funding field projects and through education, to deliver long-lasting and widespread benefits to rhinos and other endangered species, ecosystems and to the people living in these areas.


The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a Kenyan wildlife conservation charity founded in 1977 in memory of David Sheldrick by his widow Daphne Sheldrick. It assists and advises the Kenya Wildlife Service and manages an orphanage for elephants and rhinos.  To date, the trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo. 


Space for Giants is an international conservation charity, registered in the UK and Kenya governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees. Their mission is to secure a future for African elephants on earth forever, to be enjoyed by humanity forever, by ensuring that they have the space and security to live and move freely in the wild forever.  Their vision is to develop new models for conservation that enable people to support and sustain populations of large wild animals and the natural landscapes they depend on.  Most of their work is in Kenya where they are working closely with local communities to try and prevent human-wildlife conflicts.


Elephant Family is the UK's biggest funder for the endangered Asian elephant. Elephant Family exists to save this iconic animal from extinction in the wild, along with tigers, orangutans and all the other animals who share their habitat. Working with local people and partner non-government organisations, they currently fund 20 projects across Asia and invest where they are needed most: to protect habitat, prevent conflict and reconnect the forest homes of the endangered Asian elephant. Visitors to London in 2010 will remember seeing 260 brightly painted elephant statues across the city as part of their fundraiser Elephant Parade, to raise awareness of the plight of Asian elephants.  Please visit their website for more info.


Giraffes are more endangered than many people realise and The Giraffe Conservation Foundation mission is to establish their current population status and to support and inform their conservation and management, identifying key threats and increasing awareness about their plight. They look to secure viable, and protect existing, habitat for giraffe and other wildlife. maintaining a close working relationship with the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group (GOSG) to provide comprehensive educational and technical support.

MARINE WILDLIFE

For centuries, man has been 'taking' from the seas without thought for it's long-term survival.  Despite being approx. 71% of the planets' surface, our seas and oceans are dying, with pollution, global warming and over-fishing now having irreversible effects on the water quality, wildlife and ecosystems.  Many species of ocean wildlife like sea-turtles, whales and sharks are critically endangered and so I am supporting the below charities in their fight to not only save their respected species but also to keep our seas alive.


Founded in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organisation in the world! Based in Gainesville, Florida, STC's research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the Caribbean green sea turtle from immediate extinction as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe.


Whale and Dolphin Conservation is a UK based charity founded in 1987 which is dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins and porpoises.  They defend these remarkable creatures against the many threats they face through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation projects, field research and rescue. Their vision (like mine) is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free. 


The Shark Trust was founded in the UK in 1997, and is dedicated to promoting the study, management and conservation of sharks, skates and rays both in the UK and internationally. They are an effective and well respected advocate for shark management and protection, undertaking a range of  projects, campaigns and policy work to ensure the survival of this integral apex predator.  The Trust operates scientific research and education programmes, and works with divers, politicians, boat owners, and commercial and recreational fishers as well as the general public.  It also campaigns for legislative protection of vulnerable shark species and for tighter legislation restricting  the terrible practice of shark finning. 

PREHISTORIC ANIMALS

Dinosaurs have held a fascination with me for as long as I can remember, a childhood obsession that I have never grown out of.  With the new Jurassic World film in 2015, no doubt dinosaurs will be popular again with adults and children alike, so I wanted to create some special t-shirts featuring some of my favourite dinos, but with the profits going to palaeontology research and education.


The Dinosaur Society are a small society whose mission is to encourage everyone to learn about and enjoy the fascination of dinosaurs, and to support the work of people engaged in forwarding the science of palaeontology.  The UK has only a handful of researchers who can devote the majority of their time to dinosaur research and many countries, from the UK and the USA to Mongolia and China are forced to forego field research, preparation, exhibitions and publications, because they lack sufficient resources.  That is why some of the UK’s leading palaeontologists, with a little help from the Dinosaur Society in America, formed The Dinosaur Society, the only educational dinosaur science charity in the country. Their patron is Sir David Attenborough.



BRITISH WILDLIFE

British wildlife and habitats are under just as much threat as those abroad.  So it's vital to support organisations that aim to protect our wildlife including those who help sick and injured animals.


Founded in Devon in 1972, the Woodland Trust is a conservation charity in the UK concerned with the protection and sympathetic management of native woodland heritage.  Using their experience and authority in conservation to influence others, they work with government, landowners, organisations and members of the public.   They are working hard to protect ancient woodland which is one of the UK's richest wildlife habitats, covering less than 2 per cent of the UK.  


The British Hedgehog Preservation Society was founded in 1982 and offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs. As well as giving advice to the public they also encourage children to respect our natural wildlife and fund research into hedgehog behaviour.  


The Fox Project is a registered charity based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK dedicated to the Red Fox.  They provide a wildlife ambulance service to help injured red foxes in the South East of England.  They have an Amazon wish list where you can help them by buying items such as dog food and baby dog powdered milk.  Please support this worthwhile charity.


Lynx UK Trust are a group of conservationists dedicated to reintroducing the lynx back into the ecosystem of the British Isles for the first time in 1,300 years.  They are currently engaged in a range of research to identify potential release sites and to carry out a full public consultation on opinions towards reintroduction of these cats to the UK.  I am fully supportive of lynx returning to the UK, as I hope you are, and so I am delighted to be able to support Lynx UK Trust in their work.


The Mammal Society established in 1954 and is a charity advocating science-led mammal conservation, leading efforts to collect and share information on mammals, encourage research to learn more about their ecology and distribution, and contribute meaningfully to efforts to conserve them.  Concerned with protecting Britain's mammals, they aim to raise public awareness and encourage people to participate in mammal monitoring and recording.

BIRDS

Birds have long been a fascination with me, from the pet budgies, canaries, finches and cockatoos I kept when I was a kid, through to feeding the wild birds in my garden.  Sadly, garden songbirds are declining at an alarming rate, but the sound of bird song is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature.  So conserving them is something very close to my heart.


SongBird Survival is an independent UK environmental bird charity that funds research into the alarming decline in Britain’s much cherished songbirds.  They hope to draw attention to the plight of our song and other small birds and fund research into the causes of their decline in order to help promote solutions to restore songbird numbers.  With tree sparrows numbers down by 95% and Willow Tits down by 92% their work is vitality important. 


Hawk Conservancy Trust's mission is the conservation of birds of prey. They are a conservation charity and award winning visitor centre that has for many years worked in the fields of conservation, education, rehabilitation and the research of birds of prey. Set in 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadow, they have over 150 birds of prey on view, from the tiny Pygmy Owl to the impressive Steller's Sea Eagles! Many of these birds are involved in their spectacular daily flying demonstrations, whilst others are part of important breeding or environmental enrichment projects.  They have a bird of prey hospital that treats approximately 200 birds of prey each year. 


The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a conservation charity that saves wetlands, which are essential for life itself. Wetlands are the primary source of drinking water for people and wildlife. They also connect us with nature, and with ourselves, through beautiful landscapes and inspiring encounters with wildlife. They have 9 WWT wetland centres connecting with over 50,000 school children and 1 million visitors every year

MULTI-PROJECT & LAND CONSERVATION

Many wildlife charitable organisations work tirelessly for more than one species or ecosystem, often encompassing and working with many of the charities above.  Therefore I feel it's important to support the work that these charities do.


Wildlife Vets International was created to provide the veterinary support and skills to conservationists saving endangered species. WVI believes that training key people in conservation medicine will contribute to sustainable, long-term solutions for saving wild animals and the people with whom they share their world.  WVI appeal to me because of the work that they do with tigers and leopards and in particular the research they have done with identifying that the Canine Distemper Virus can be transmitted to wild tigers and other big cats.  Therefore for the last couple of years I have been designing Christmas cards and t-shirts for WVI, donating all profits from sales to them.


Now in its 25th Anniversary year the World Land Trust (WLT) is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. Since its foundation in 1989, WLT has funded partner organisations around the world to create reserves, and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife


Fauna & Flora International was originally founded in 1903 as the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire. It later became the Fauna Preservation Society, before being renamed Fauna and Flora Preservation Society in 1981. The goal of the society was to safeguard the future of Africa’s large mammal populations and their work ultimately paved the way for the formation of National parks such as Kruger and Serengeti National Parks. FFI has been referred to by many historians as the world's first conservation society, and the society's early work in Africa was also trend-setting in ecotourism. The organisation also played a key role in establishing much of today’s global conservation infrastructure – including IUCN, WWF and CITES. 


The Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) is the only UK registered charity to focus exclusively on the conservation and sustainability of the Galapagos Archipelago.  Launched in 1995 at the Royal Society, they have supported a vast array of projects in Galapagos and now is celebrating 20 years of  conserving endemic species, marine conservation and controlling invasive species, amongst other things.


For 25 years, Rainforest Trust has been steadfast to the mission of saving critical lands for conservation through land purchase and protected area designations.  They have played a central role in the creation of 73 new protected areas in 17 countries while working with local organisations that empower indigenous people to steward their own resources.  Their current campaign "Saving Sumatra's Wildlife" is something very dear to my heart, and so I am delighted to support the Rainforest Trust.


Saving Vietnam's Wildlife is a national non-profit organisation, committed to protecting and increasing populations of threatened wildlife in Vietnam by rescuing threatened animals, protecting entire populations and ensuring secured habitats. They act to identify and select the best solutions which encompass high conservation value, are scientifically based, consider human requirements and empower people to take informed action.  The rescue, rehabilitate and re-release wild animals back into the jungles of Vietnam, particularly the very endangered and heavily poached pangolin.


Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is the largest non-profit owner of land for conservation in Australia, protecting endangered wildlife across more than 3.15 million hectares in iconic locations such as the Kimberley, the Top End, Cape York and the central deserts.  AWC was established because Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and a very high proportion of their surviving animals and plants (over 1,700 species) are threatened with extinction. “Business as usual” for conservation in Australia will mean additional extinctions.  Therefore with around 80% of their staff based in the field, they are implementing a new model for conservation: delivering large-scale, practical land management (such as feral animal control, fire management), informed by world class science.

Across their 23 sanctuaries, they protect:

  • 86% of all native bird species
  • 71% of all native mammal species
  • More than 50% of all native frogs and reptile species,
  • They protect some of the largest remaining populations of Australia’s most threatened species including Bilbies, Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens and Numbats.