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David Shepherd: Farewell to a hero

22 September 2017

David Shepherd

Animals Asia is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of artist, conservationist and dear friend David Shepherd CBE.

David passed away peacefully on 19 September 2017 at the age of 86 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The wildlife artist and conservationist founded the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) and used his paintings to fund conservation work.

Both David and DSWF have worked with Animals Asia for many years and supported the Hong Kong NGO’s work to end bear bile farming.

Memorably, during a joint Animals Asia and DSWF fundraiser during which both David and Animals Asia’s Founder, Jill Robinson gave presentations – David surprised everyone by donating all the proceeds to Animals Asia’s work.

Jill and David Shepherd DSWF

Animals Asia’s Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“The world is a sadder place for the loss of this iconic environmentalist and artist, and we are poorer for the loss of a friend who did so much to champion our bears. Our hearts go out to Avril and all David’s family, with our respects to a man who achieved so much for so many creatures, great and small.”

Moon bear Beau, rescued from a bear farm in China in April 2001, was a recipient of David’s boundless compassion and generosity. DSWF’s work and kindness helped assure Beau’s future and gave her a happy and healthy life at Animals Asia’s sanctuary in Chengdu.

Beau enjoys the great outdoors at CBRC

 Jill, who has known David since the mid-1990’s, said:

“My fondest memory of David is watching him hold a classroom of Hong Kong school children in rapture during one of his memorable presentations. He was asking them which was the most dangerous animal on the planet and their faces were a picture when he told them – it was us!”

David even painted moon bear Jasper, rescued by Animals Asia from a bear bile farm in 2007, with all the proceeds helping other long-suffering bears recover from cruelty.

Jasper’s original painting and limited edition prints grace the walls of supporters and friends across the world, ensuring that David’s legacy – and the story of Jasper and goal of helping thousands of bears – lives on.

David leaves a wife, four daughters, nine grandchildren, one great grandchild and an enduring legacy for wildlife conservation.  

Jill said:

“Thank you David for the love and infectious passion for wildlife you instilled in the hearts of so many across this globe. Your art reflected the deep, deep soul of a man who simply loved life, and we will miss you.”

David Shepherd copyright DSWF


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