Ever since the premiere of The Rover in December, 2018, people have been talking about Robert Pattinson’s incredible ability to draw. The actor plays an animal rights activist who, with the help of his trusty sidekick Buzz, travels across America rescuing abused and neglected animals, mostly elephants. Naturally, this leads to a dramatic showdown at the end of the film when Buzz is forced to shoot and kill an angry mob of animal rights activists who had surrounded Robert’s elephant, Ellie. For those who love watching or reading comics, the scene is as good as it is terrifying.
This ability to draw has been praised by many, including legendary comic book artist Jack Cole. While in character as Robert, Cole shared his thoughts on the actor’s artistic prowess:
“I’ve known Robert since he was 17. He has always been an exceptional artist, and his talent continued to develop through the years. He is truly gifted, and I’m so happy that I finally got to witness this talent in person. I was able to tell him how much he has accomplished, and I’m sure he was touched by the words coming from the man who designed many of his iconic costumes over the years. He is truly a great talent, and I’m honored to have been able to play a small part in his life’s work.”
The Artistic Journey
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, you may not know who (or what) Robert Pattinson is. The 31-year-old is best known for his role as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga, for which he won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA.
The film franchise, which started as a simple tale of teenage love, soon evolved into a saga of celebrity, with Edward becoming a pop culture phenomenon. He was the first actor to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and his image was even featured on the back of a U.S. dollars bill.
The Twilight films, along with their accompanying soundtrack, remain amongst the top-selling albums of all time. In 2017, Forbes estimated Edward’s net worth at over $150 million.
But it wasn’t long before the fame and fortune began to fade. The final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, was a box office bomb, and reviews were terrible. The film underperformed at the box office, earning only $26.5 million in its opening weekend in North America and around the world. It went on to make $40 million less than its predecessor, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, which had made $151.2 million just three years earlier.
The following year, Forbes estimated Edward’s net worth at only $12 million, down from $150 million in 2017. The actor was also noticeably absent from the cover of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2019.
From Edward to Eleanor
While most people were talking about his drawing skills, Robert Pattinson had other things on his mind. In 2019, he created a nonprofit aimed at providing food and water to Asian elephants in captivity. He also started a production company, Animal Charity Evaluer Ltd., which aims to evaluate the merits of animal charities and organizations, as well as screen potential applicants for his non-profit, the Elephant Reclaimers.
Pattinson initially focused on providing food and supplies to the Asian elephants because of their overpopulation and the threat that they pose to the ecosystem. He has traveled to India several times to work with elephant experts and organizations to implement a plan to help the animals. He has also spoken publicly about his concern for the well-being of Asian elephants, and how he intends to help.
The Biggest Impact
If you’re unfamiliar, Asian elephants are one of the most recognizable species in the world. They are huge, intelligent mammals with complex social structures and communication skills. They often travel in groups called “herds,” and their tusk size and shape varies significantly between bulls and females. While in India, a tour guide once referred to an Asian elephant as “a walking encyclopedia” because of their large memory capacity.
While there are an estimated 15 to 20 million Asian elephants in the world (compared to around 500,000 African elephants), they are also some of the most endangered mammals. They are often poached for their ivory, which is used to make jewelry, musical instruments, and other decorative items. In some parts of Asia, especially India and Vietnam, hunting elephants is a popular pastime. Unfortunately, most of the ivory is imported from countries where elephant hunting is legal, like China and Vietnam, which puts the population at risk.
Because of their significance as a symbol of power, beauty, and prestige, it is no wonder that people have been so inspired by the story of Robert Pattinson’s heroic quest to protect and save the Asian elephants. In response to the overwhelming support he has received (including from celebrities like Billie Eilish and Cara Delevingne), Pattinson has committed himself to helping save these amazing creatures. He hopes to eventually move his organization, the Asian Elephant Foundation, out of London, where his attorneys and accountant are now based and into a more remote area, as it is easier for potential donors to find a way to support them from a distance.
More Ways to Help
In addition to raising food and supplies for elephants, Robert Pattinson established a special fund through his publicists at Rogers, Stirk, and Partners to aid in the ongoing legal proceedings against the Animal Charity Evaluer Ltd. Because much of his philanthropic work takes place outside of the United Kingdom, he has established a U.S. headquarters in the northern California city of Redwood City. There, he will try to identify and support animal welfare groups in the U.S. that share his passion for elephants and are looking for ways to operate more efficiently.
If you’d like to make a difference in the fight to save the Asian elephants, you can contribute to the legal fund via the online platform JustGiving. Justgiving has partnered with law firms in London and Palo Alto, California, to provide an easy way for people to make donations to charitable organizations working to protect elephants in Asia. All funds raised will go directly to the fight against elephant poaching.
In the meantime, you can show your support for the fight against elephant poaching by purchasing ivory-free alternatives like the ones described on the Environmental Impact section below. Buying ivory-free products helps us raise awareness about the plight of African and Asian elephants and the impact of illegal ivory trade on the planet. It also encourages companies to make a conscious decision to avoid using products made from ivory.
While the demand for ivory is on the decline, the demand for its more traditional substitute, brass, is increasing. This puts more pressure on the African and Asian elephant populations, many of whom are endangered. As the price of ivory goes up, so too does the incentive for hunters to capture the animals and their tusks. This has led to a rise in elephant poaching, and around 25,000 animals are now slaughtered for their ivory each year.
To counter this threat, we need to do everything we can to reduce the demand for ivory. One of the easiest ways to do this is to cut down on our own demand. By reducing our own demand, we are encouraging others to reduce theirs, too. This, in turn, will help drive down the price of ivory and make it more difficult for poachers to make a profit.
If you’re a regular user of ivory-based products, you might want to consider cutting back on your consumption. It’s never easy giving up something we’ve been using for so long, but it’s a small price to pay to stop the slaughter of these magnificent creatures. Remember: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re unsure where to start, it’s best to begin with what you use least often. For example, if you’re not a big fan of wearing jewelry, start by removing your engagement ring and diamond earrings. If you’re not a big drinker, consider stopping to drink alcohol or going glass-free. These are all easy ways to decrease your demand for ivory and make a significant difference.