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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Danish tattoo artists ink for endangered animals

The World Wildlife Fund, in collaboration with Danish tattoo artists, wants to raise awareness for the more than 44,000 animal species that face extinction threat.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CN) — A sudden buzz breaks the dead still Whit Monday morning at BettyZoo, a tattoo studio snugged inside central Copenhagen. It is the sound of a needle threading leopard spots into the skin of a young woman’s thigh.

“I’ve always been fond on felines. Picking an animal for this was fairly easy,” said Helene Spetzler, 27, who got her first tattoo of a wildlife creature Monday. She is one of many customers in Denmark ordering a permanent skin print depicting an endangered animal this week.

Numerous tattoo artists in the country have joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature to boost awareness about species facing extinction around the globe.

Profits made from endangered animals tattooed in studios volunteering for the campaign will go into preservation projects funded by the WWF. The one-week campaign began last Monday and will end this Friday.

“When you wear a tattoo of an endangered animal, you are reminded of the decline of our amazing species every single day,” said Jacob Fjalland environmental director at WWF in a news release upon the campaign launch.

“At the same time, the tattoo can help start a conversation with others about the importance of protecting and restoring nature,” he said.

According to the WWF, the global loss of biodiversity is currently rising at an unprecedented speed. More than 44,000 animal species are threatened by extinction if nothing is done, the organization writes. Fading coral reefs, deforestation in the Amazon and overfishing are some of the main culprits.

One of the many animals the WWF is trying to preserve is the wild leopard, similar to the one that will decorate Spetzler's thigh after today’s session, thanks to the campaign.

“It’s been a long time since my last tattoo, so I’ve just been waiting. Suddenly this campaign launched, and then I thought, now’s the time! Now there’s an extra reason to go through with it,” she said, adding that, “I’m not sure I would have got this tattoo if it wasn’t for the campaign, because it inspired me to pick an endangered animal.”

The World Wildlife Fund does conservation projects related to saving wild leopards. Multiple breeds of the feline are at risk of extinction, according to the organization. (Lasse Sørensen/Courthouse News)

And she is far from the only person believing that the campaign has great appeal for aspiring tattoo receivers.

Artist and studio owner Tanya Betty, the conductor of the pen inking the leopard silhouette into Spetzler’s thigh, said she got an email in early April from a WWF project coordinator who wanted her to join the initiative.

“I thought, let’s do it. It's for a good cause and involves animals and tattoos,” she said.

Betty says has not been able to keep track of the many customers reaching out, eager to get a tattoo under the campaign in her studio. Some approaches were rejected because they failed to fulfill the requirement of selecting an endangered animal as the subject.

Since the launch, Betty has been busy squeezing fans of the campaign into her already packed schedule and is still in dialogue with many potential customers who want to make it before the deadline on Friday.

“It’s great that we can use our platform to spread awareness on this issue. And it’s fun to be part of these types of projects and meet new people from groups we don’t usually see in our studio,” she said.

It took Betty less than an hour to finish the leopard tattoo. Glancing at her new companion, Spetzler goes quiet for some seconds.

“I should research how threatened they are. I should dive into that,” she said.

Follow @LasseSrensen13
Categories / Arts, Environment, International

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