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Dudley Zoo tiger Joao is the star of competition finalist Tara's artwork

A drawing of Dudley Zoo's tiger created by an artist has made the final cut in an international competition held to raise awareness of animals at risk of extinction.

Tara Pryor is a finalist for the Explorers against Extinction - Sketch for Survival competition with drawing of Dudley Zoo tiger Joao
Tara Pryor is a finalist for the Explorers against Extinction - Sketch for Survival competition with drawing of Dudley Zoo tiger Joao

Tara Pryor, from Stafford, took up painting full-time after working as a weight loss consultant prior to the coronavirus lockdown.

Now she has been named among 100 talented artists to be announced as finalists in the 'Explorers against Extinction - Sketch for Survival' competition, which helps to fund forest and habitat projects to protect endangered species.

Tara's pencil sketch depicting Joao the male tiger was selected in the adult category of this year's competition.

"Wildlife conservation is close to my heart," said Tara, aged 34, of Peach Avenue.

"I do pet art commissions, but conservation is one of my core values. I saw a photo of the tiger by Suzie Bradbury and my sketch is based on that.

"It reflects his power and a look of disdain. I'm normally a watercolour artist and it was a nice surprise to have my pencil piece selected for the next round.

"I submitted an entry last year that wasn't selected.

"I have only been painting since the pandemic started. I was a weight loss consultant, but I couldn't work during the Covid crisis. I had a small side business doing gift items which I've flipped to do animal and people portraits.

"There were so many entries this year I didn't think I had a chance. It's been phenomenal. I feel ecstatic. It's been really humbling to get this far. I hope my sketch goes on to raise lots of money for the organisation."

The organisers received 3,000 entries from 90 countries for Sketch for Survival, which was set up to raise awareness about species extinction and raise funds for projects around the globe at the same time.

The donated artworks will be sold via online auction, with the proceeds going to to the competition's project fund. Sketch for Survival has raised nearly £150,000 for nominated conservation projects in the last two years. Entries came from all over the world including China, Africa and United States.

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