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Simon Combes

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for November, 2004

Simon Combes is the Project Director and Kenya Representative for RHINO RESCUE TRUST. In support of the Trust and to draw attention to the cause Simon has just finished "Africa and Beyond: The Art and Adventures of Simon Combes", a retrospective exhibit showcasing his African wildlife art, held near Denver, Colorado, USA at The Wildlife Experience museum. Several of Simon's works have been displayed at The Wildlife Experience, and his art was used to create the mural in the museum's Vanishing Africa Gallery. At the "Africa and Beyond" show, Simon worked on a painting of a rhinoceros which benefited the Rhino Rescue Trust Fund with $10,000. "Africa and Beyond" was on display from June 19 through October 3, 2004.  

In December 1985 Rhino Rescue, a trust for all endangered wildlife was founded by Count Maurice Coreth with the aim of combating the decimation of rhino population in Kenya. Since then Rhino Rescue continues to fund projects in Kenya, Namibia and India. The main focus at present is Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya where Rhino Rescue, working with the Kenya Wildlife Service, maintains the 80 kilometer electric fence around the perimeter of the Park. Rhino Rescue raised the funds for the building of the fence and other major projects.

Their mission is to protect all endangered species from poaching and to help the surrounding communities affected by wildlife conflicts. Black Rhino were introduced to Lake Nakuru National Park in 1985 when poaching in Kenya had reached apocalyptic levels. As a boy, on visits to many of the national parks, Simon could recall how frequently a rhino would charge out of the undergrowth like an express train causing huge excitement and adrenaline rushes as Simon's father maneuvered the car to avoid collision. Not any more. Thousands had been killed and the few remaining were being pursued relentlessly to satisfy the insatiable demand from the near and far East. Maurice Coreth, retired professional hunter, decided on a plan to save the few remaining rhinos. Lake Nakuru National Park, at this point no more than a world-renowned bird sanctuary, was in the process of being enlarged. Maurice's plan was to raise sufficient money to erect a rhino-and-poacher-proof electric fence round the 80 kilometer perimeter and then to translocate such rhinos as could be found into the safety of the park.  Many experts scoffed at the idea but Maurice was not to be deterred and after a few years of vigorous fund-raising, he achieved his aim and proved them wrong. The park became home to a small group of black rhinos and also some whites, which were brought from South Africa. Simon became involved from the start when Maurice bullied him into donating artwork.

Having completed the fence, the Rhino Rescue Trust withdrew to concentrate on other needy projects in Kenya, Zimbabwe and India. Simon has lived in the Nakuru area on and off since 1946 when his father first moved to Kenya. As a small boy, he used to stay on the ranch, which later became part of the park. In 1998, he moved back to Soysambu, Lord Delamere's cattle ranch that adjoins LNNP.  In June 2003, Simon was asked by the RRT trustees to take over as Kenya Representative and Project Director, which he did.  RRT's aims and tasks remain the same and he and his wife spend a day a week in the park supervising the team. They are also involved in fund-raising projects for the park. The current priority for RRT is to raise sufficient money to drill a new borehole at Pwani, a large area of the park which becomes waterless in the dry season. Visit http://www.simoncombesartist.com or www.rhinorescue.org for more information.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
(May, 2017)
(April, 2017)
(March, 2017)
(February, 2017)
(January, 2017)
(December, 2016)
(November, 2016)
(October, 2016)
(September, 2016)
(August, 2016)
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