By Kshiti Mishra

Listen along to an audio version of this article HERE

These days we often come across news about biodiversity destruction that humanity is collectively causing. Sometimes it is ominous headlines telling us how a decline in vulture numbers is causing an increased spread of diseases like rabies and anthrax in South Asia. At other times there are horrifying reports such as how recently in the Faroe Islands, more than 1400 dolphins were killed in a single day! Reading about such incidents can make us feel helpless and disturbed. Thankfully there are some people across the world that are not only helping us deal with such news with a bit of light-heartedness but are also sensitizing many more people to these issues through the power of humour! For instance, take a look at these witty cartoons about these issues by Rob Lang ( and Rohan Chakravarty (, both of whom draw comics about wildlife and conservation. (Psst, do you remember Rohan from the October 2020 issue of YFN?!)

Did the comics make you smile a bit? And maybe made it a tiny bit easier to deal with the sad reality? Rob and Rohan are among a few creative minds masterfully handling the huge responsibility of serving serious news and educational facts about biodiversity with a dollop of humour. Yet another person among their ranks is the science communicator, Rosemary Mosco ( According to Rosemary (1) “The humour helps make the messages more relatable. When I attach a joke to a fact, people share it around because everyone loves to laugh. The fact spreads to new places and reaches more people.” Rohan also shared something similar in a previous interview (2): “If an animal makes you laugh in a cartoon or a comic, you’re more likely to remember it, befriend it and identify with its cause. It does mask some of the gruesomeness and gore, but I see my cartoons as a friendly, virtual hug that wildlife can offer to a layman.” Rob talks about how cartoons can effectively inspire compassion to their subject: “Putting words in the mouth of illustrations is easier than making photographs look like the subject is expressing itself.” He believes: “No matter how hopeless a situation might be, I will always have a glimmer of humour mixed in, which for me, is like a drop of hope in a soupy storm of despair. I like to think that in some small way, I’m inspiring people to care just a bit more about what’s under their feet when they step on the grass in their front yard, what’s flying above their heads or what’s swimming around in the depths of the vast oceans. This, in turn, will naturally help people believe it’s all worth saving.”

And the messages from these artists definitely reach and affect a lot of people. For instance, Rohan has shared in previous interviews how his comic about the exploitation of the world’s smallest monkeys – Pygmy marmosets – for the pet-trade, changed the mind of a reader from Peru, who decided to not buy it as a pet!

The same goes for Rosemary who has also mentioned in interviews about a chart she created on what to do if you find a baby bird out of its nest, which was useful to a lot of people.

Not just readers, but also important conservation organizations recognize the impact of their cartoons – for example, Rohan Chakravarty’s work has been recognized with the WWF International President’s Award and Sanctuary Asia Young Naturalist Award, while Rosemary Mosco’s comics have also won the National Cartoonists Society’s award for Best Online Short Form Comic, among others.

The critters in their comics might be playful, but these artists take their art very seriously, doing extensive research for each comic. They attend lectures, read scientific papers and field guides, communicate with researchers, watch videos, and study animals before drawing their cartoons. That helps with the facts, but where do they find humorous inspiration? According to Rosemary (3) “Nature is really funny. You can go into the woods and find 20 or 30 hilarious potential comic prompts anywhere you go.” Rohan has attributed his sense of humour to his pet dog, Natwar Prakash, who would make him laugh heartily (4). So, if you keep an attentive eye out for animals or plants acting funny around you, you might just find inspiration for your own cartoons!

Yet another artist using his skills to make a difference is Rohit Shukla. By profession, he is an Indian forest guard in the Madhya Pradesh Forest Division, but he also paints simple and beautiful cartoons on a variety of issues about wildlife, drawing from his experiences. His cartoons have been widely shared across various social media platforms and are used to educate field staff and the masses alike. 

Let’s be thankful to these amazing artists doing such a great job of making us think twice about the biodiversity around us and keeping up the spirits of those that care deeply about its conservation. Hope you check out their work, share it widely, and find inspiration to come up with your own unique perspective on nature. After all, for the tough challenges that lie ahead of us, we are going to need all the laughs we can get! On that note, let’s start 2022 with a laugh, with this hilarious cartoon created by Rob Lang.


About the Author:

Kshiti Mishra is pursuing a PhD in physics in the Netherlands and occasionally likes to dabble in different kinds of art.