An architect by, Noel McCully started chainsaw carving last year aided by online videos. She shared that the carving was her biggest feat yet. Picture: Shakirah Thebus
An architect by, Noel McCully started chainsaw carving last year aided by online videos. She shared that the carving was her biggest feat yet. Picture: Shakirah Thebus

Novice sculptor creates new artwork to raise awareness of pangolins

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Feb 22, 2021

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Cape Town - A Woodstock resident and novice self-taught chainsaw carver took to sculpting a large fallen tree which had damaged the fence of Queen’s Park High School to raise awareness about the world’s most trafficked mammal.

Noel McCully, 52, who lives a few metres from the school in Balfour Street, took on the daunting task after her interest in the endangered species reached new heights last year.

The international community commemorated World Pangolin Day last Saturday.

An architect, McCully started chainsaw carving last year aided by online videos. She shared that this had been her biggest feat yet.

“I became very aware during last year when the question of where Covid-19 originated from and there was talk about it coming from the pangolin and the trade in its scales and meat.

“I did a bit of reading and discovered it was the most trafficked mammal in the world so I thought let me highlight that because it is at a school and people need to know, because I didn't know what a pangolin looked like until I saw the images,” said McCully.

“The whole trafficking of these animals is so inhumane and cruel that people need to know about it.”

One of the large trees on the school grounds had fallen during a severe winter storm about three years ago, causing extensive damage to the fence and ground.

After getting the school’s consent, McCully set about carving a mother and baby pangolin perched on its back. She started carving started in October last year and it took her between 60-90 hours to complete the work in December.

School administrator Ulanda Manuel said this was also the first time a resident from the community had interacted with her and the school in the almost 18 years of working there.

“In the afternoons when I worked late she used to come in. The kids used to play on the tree and when she approached us, I was quite keen on the idea and thought let’s do something with this.”

Manuel admitted she did not expect the final outcome; the school staff were elated with it.

Cape Argus

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