AYAN KAMATH MEHRA
Hi, I’m Ayan, and my wish is that we work together to make sure that the astounding animals that inhabit our planet today do not become history tomorrow.
The first book I ever chose on my own was about dinosaurs. Not cars, not planes, not fairy tales, but dinosaurs. Majestic creatures that roamed the earth. As the years went by my love for dinosaurs extended into the love for all wild creatures on Planet Earth. From toddler to teenager, I have been obsessed with nature and history. The bewildering array of creatures that our planet has produced over millions of years, is simply breathtaking. But, it is dwindling with equally breathtaking speed. As a part of humanity, my wish is that we work together to make sure that the astounding animals that inhabit our planet today do not become history tomorrow.
My passion for wildlife conservation was first set ablaze in the summer of 2019. This was my second trip from Singapore to Africa, and although I was privileged to see an abundance of wildlife on both trips, I had not seen a rhino up close. We had a few rhino sightings scattered around the Savannah, but they were so few and far between that we had to use binoculars to even confirm that they were rhinos. On our last few days in South Africa, my mother gave me 3 books – The Elephant Whisperer, The Last Rhinos, and An Elephant in My Kitchen. These 3 books, written by conservationists Lawrence & Francoise Anthony, told the stories of the terrible poaching tragedies that rhinos faced. I was so upset by the cruelty of humans towards rhinos that I realized that I wanted to do something about it.
In the autumn of 2019, I started drawing pictures of African animals to tell the story of their great beauty and vulnerability. I used social media to drive awareness and started selling my art to raise financial help and awareness for wildlife conservation.
Two years on, what started as me sketching a few animals for people I know has turned into a movement for conservation inspired through art. My website and Instagram reach people all over the world with the story of endangered animals and how they can help.
The reason I am so honoured and excited to become a Born Free Youth Ambassador is because their drive to champion wildlife mirrors my own passion to make a difference in conservation. With Born Free, I hope to use my art, my writing, and my voice to have an even bigger impact, not only for African rhinos but also other endangered species. I have learned a lot from Born Free’s journey to end captivity and look forward to a world where we can successfully conserve the diversity of our animal kingdom where they truly belong – in the wild.