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24/01/2018 13:13 SAST | Updated 24/01/2018 13:13 SAST

South African Street Art Brings Endangered Wildlife To Russia

A new mural is just one of many appearing around the world, but the meaning is much deeper than just pictures.

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From a bear in Canada to an elephant in Jozi, South African street artist Sonny is on a mission to raise awareness of animal conservation by painting large-scale street murals in as many places around the world as possible.

His latest work appears on a wall in Vladivostok, Russia, where residents are admiring his newest subject – a giant Amur leopard, one of the planet's most endangered cats.

The extraordinary mural measures 250 square-metres, and reportedly contains more than 200 shades of colour.

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Only 80 of these leopards are left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The WWF explains that the Amur leopard is poached largely for its fur, which can sell for hundreds of thousands of rands. Agriculture and villages also surround the forests where the leopards live. As a result the forests are relatively accessible, making poaching a problem.

"Amur leopards are teetering on the brink of extinction," the WWF's page says of the critically endangered animals.

Sonny will be having a major exhibition later this year in New York, where all of his projects will be shown together.

Check out a few of his amazing murals below, and follow his journey on sonnyonline.com.

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