About 8 years ago now I decided that I would like to contribute, help bring awareness to, and donate money to wildlife rescue places in the west. My goal is to help heal our planet so helping to heal the animals on the planet are in perfect alignment. I feel as though I am a steward and protector of animals and wildlife. I have thousands of eyes that see my animal paintings and I couldn’t think of a better way to help animal rescues then so share the stories of their animals. We did research on organizations and started contacting them. We asked each organization if there was a particular animal they wanted to highlight and would they be open to letting me do a portrait of them, sell them and give them half the proceeds. Most of animal rescue operations do educational events in other places and sometimes bring animals with them. That's how I found Southwest Wildlife near Fountain Hills and Rio Verde here in the valley. They were super supportive and gave me photo's of a mountain lion they had named Tocho.
Tocho was orphaned in 2005 when his mother was shot by a poacher. He wasn't even old enough to be weaned from his mother’s milk when the poacher sold him to two young men. The men kept him in a dark shed where he was deprived of sunlight and very lonely. They had no idea how to feed a growing baby mountain lion. Luckily, Tocho was discovered, confiscated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. His initial health assessment was shocking. He had three broken legs and a crushed pelvis; his improper diet made his bones weak and fragile. It took many months of care and special formula to rebuild Tocho’s bones so he could finally walk. He lived a happy life at Southwest Wildlife and without them he would have never had a chance at life! His memory lives on and my painting will be used for raising money for the facility!
You can see my interpretation of Tocho on my website here. https://megharper.com/products/tocho?_pos=1&_sid=03f1274e7&_ss=r
It is my hope more people become aware of organizations like Southwest Wildlife. They serve a very important purpose and always, always, always need more funding for new operational equipment, updating enclosures, food, medicine, etc. It never ends! Southwest Wildlife rehabilitates over a 1000 animals a year and puts them back into the wild. Here is their website if you’d like to learn more about how to help them as well! https://www.southwestwildlife.org/ I just googled them and Tocho’s photo was right up there on Google maps!