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Laura Grogan

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for September, 2011

Laura is passionate about ecology, wildlife epidemiology and environmental conservation. She began publishing in newspapers as a freelance wildlife artist at the age of thirteen. Since that time her passion for conservation has led her not only to expand her artistic abilities, but has also shaped her professional career, leading to her current position as a conservation scientist/researcher and veterinarian. She is currently doing her PhD on the devastating fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, which is threatening frogs worldwide. Laura's PhD research is investigating ways to help improve reintroduction success for frogs affected by this disease; species that teeter on the brink of extinction (through techniques such as vaccination and assisted evolution for disease resistance). Unfortunately, in comparison with some of the more 'enigmatic' species, the plight of amphibians is often overlooked, and without more funding and recognition of the problems facing our wildlife, many more species will be lost.
 
Laura hopes to raise awareness about the conservation of biodiversity through her art and research. She pledges half the profit from any original artworks sold to conservation organizations, and all proceeds from the sale of cards and prints go to supporting research on management strategies for frog population recovery.
Some other examples of her commitment to conservation include membership in professional societies (International Wildlife Disease Association, The Wildlife Society, Australian Wildlife Health Network, The Ecological Society of Australia, Wilderness Preservation Society of Australia, Australian Veterinary Association, Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service of New South Wales - WIRES). Additionally, she has participated in several veterinary wildlife externships (including at Johannesburg Zoo, South Africa, and Western Plains Zoo Australia), has been a volunteer wildlife carer with WIRES and has treated wildlife in the course of her clinical veterinary activities. She has previously studied the welfare and ecology of urban wildlife in Sydney Australia (Brushtail possums in the Royal Botanic Gardens), and has also donated artwork to be used in zoo educational pamphlets, as an award for recognition of conservation activities, and for use as the satchel gift at an international research conference.

Painting wildlife has always provided an opportunity for Laura to share her interest in conservation with others. In particular, she is interested in raising awareness about the plight of many of the less 'enigmatic' but still critically endangered cryptic wildlife species. Artistically she focuses predominantly on portraying less well known wildlife species, including many endemic Australian animals. Paintings are composed mostly from her own photographic source material, and she uses highly detailed illustrative ink and watercolour techniques.

"The world is currently experiencing the worst biodiversity crisis in 65 million years. Amphibians are leading this anthropogenic catastrophe, with more species endangered or extinct than in any other vertebrate class. There are currently fewer than 20 adult male Southern Corroborree frogs left in the wild, and they are likely to disappear in the coming months. Next to habitat loss, the fungal skin disease, chytridiomycosis is the primary cause of declines. Unfortunately, while we can breed some species in captivity (roughly 3000 Southern Corroboree frogs have been raised or bred in captivity), until we can combat the disease which is threatening them in the wild, reintroduction attempts are largely unsuccessful."

 

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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