Commuters did a double-take after a massive missing cat poster with a difference appeared in central London.
The feline featured in the artwork is not your average neighbourhood moggy but a majestic lion affectionately known as Archie – and one of the ‘highly-threatened’ big cats.
Designed by street artist, Dean Zeus Colman, the 260 sq. ft poster, which appeared yesterday (Tues) aims to raise awareness of the world’s vanishing big cat population.
According to National Geographic, which commissioned the artwork as part of its Big Cats Initiative, lions have now disappeared from 90 per cent of their historic range.
The poster, located in London’s Paternoster Square, was slowly and unwittingly rubbed out by the public as they went about their business – a reminder of falling lion numbers.
Zeus completed the artwork using six base colours, 100 chalks, eight cans of spray chalk and more than two litres of paint – and it took him more than 12 hours to complete.
He said: “Using the familiarity of a neighbourhood missing cat poster, but with a wild twist, helped bring resonance to the piece.
“The magic happened when we unveiled the artwork and allowed members of the public to walk straight across our poster.
“Each of them helped to slowly rub out Archie – reflecting the impact we humans have on big cats living in the wild.”
The Big Cats Initiative is working to halt the global decline of big cats such as tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards and snow leopards in the wild.
Dr Amy Dickman is a National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee and Senior Research Fellow in Field Conservation at University of Oxford – which runs the Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania.
She said: “Lions play a central role in British culture – they are the UK’s national animal and appear on everything from our national football team’s shirts to the door knocker of 10 Downing Street.
“Yet, the reality is that lions are dying out at an alarming rate.”
To find out more about the Big Cats Initiative and how you can support its conservation efforts click here [www.savearchie.com]
By Rob Knight