+44 (0) 7508 801 099

John's Tiger: in memory of Dr John Lewis

Memorial Painting for Dr John Lewis

Framed Watercolour Height 22” x width 28”, by Penny Wheatley

Limited edition prints, signed by the artist, are also available. 

All proceeds from the auction of the painting and sales of the prints will go to support the charity John helped establish - Wildlife Vets International.

Award winning artist Penny Wheatley, a long term supporter of Wildlife Vets International, and of John’s work in particular, was so moved by the news of his unexpected death last year that she stopped what she was working on and threw herself instead into painting this stunning watercolour of a large Amur tiger bounding through the snow. Penny has kindly donated the painting to WVI for auction, to raise funds to continue the conservation work John was so passionate about: providing support and training to vets and field staff working on the conservation front line, and in particular with tigers. 

If after reading the details below you would like to know more about the painting, the prints, the artist or John’s work, please do get in contact: O.Walter@wildlifevetsinternational.org

Penny writes:

The brilliant wildlife vet, Dr. John Lewis, sadly died suddenly in November 2020.

Touched with a spark of genius, this creative and skilful vet treated and saved the lives of so many precious wild animals in so many different parts of the world. His untimely loss, in the midst of a shining career which promised many more years of invaluable work, is both shocking and wasteful. Everyone who came into contact with John was inspired by him. He enriched and illuminated their lives with his teachings. He fired their imaginations with his resourcefulness and ingenuity, enabling them to carry out his ideas and work after he had left them. 

John’s work was of such enormous importance that I have done my best to enable it to be carried forward in his name and through his example. I have created this painting of an Amur tiger especially for this great man, and its subject, the Tiger, the big cat he almost made his own with his study and research into the these magnificent animals. I offer this memorial, in reverence, gratefulness and awe. I should add that it is impossible not to include the word LOVE, when considering this amazing and valuable human being, who did so much good in the wildlife world.

Penny Wheatley - December 2020.


 WVI Executive Director, Olivia Walter, writes:

Dr John Lewis and Wildlife Vets International

Dr. John Lewis and fellow wildlife vet, AndrewGreenwood, set up Wildlife Vets International because they believed passionately in the need to make world class veterinary skills and science available to those working on the frontline of wildlife conservation. They recognised that doing so could make all the difference to the success of a project and the survival of endangered species.

John was always enormously generous in sharing his own skills and knowledge, and deeply appreciative of what he learnt from others in return. But he wanted to go beyond that to make sure that such expertise could be shared in a wider and more sustainable way.

While John cared deeply about all species, he simply adored tigers. His dedication, not just to the animals but also to the people working to save them from extinction, culminated in a unique website that pulls together all his knowledge of tiger medicine with that of other experts. Access is free to all those who need it wherever they are working. John often described the website, which he named The Wild Tiger Health Centre, as his most exciting work and biggest contribution to veterinary science and tiger conservation.

John knew that saving species from extinction is a complicated puzzle. There is never a quick fix, and the challenges conservationists face are immense. Poaching, habitat loss and climate change are just some of the huge problems than can be made worse by unexpected outbreaks of disease which can decimate already threatened populations. Wildlife veterinary expertise is vital to control disease and successfully rehabilitate rare animals that are sick or injured.

While we all miss John’s wisdom, humour and direction, WVI remains dedicated to passing on and sharing veterinary knowledge in order to support those conserving endangered species. We are so grateful to Penny for this powerful and moving tribute to John. With your help we look forward to continuing his legacy into the future and helping solve the conservation puzzle.



John Lewis with a large male Amur tiger in the Russian Far East. Credit: WCS Russia

A little fantasy of the artist

Penny again:

Olivia told me that the huge male Amur tiger John is inspecting in the photograph above, taken in 2011, was the biggest tiger he had ever anaesthetised. I like to believe that this very tiger, once released, was once more plunging through the snow, in his glorious freedom and magnificence. And that he is the very tiger who dedicates himself to John in the painting John’s Tiger!

The framed picture of John's tiger, with artist Penny Wheatley

Prints - An edition of 125 signed prints - the same dimensions as the original painting - h. 22” x w. 30” (56cm x 76cm) - £165.00 each. Each print will be sent out in a cardboard roll on receipt of payment. A smaller print can be obtained on request -  h.16” x w.22” (40.5cm x 56cm) - £145.00.

The entire profit from every beautiful high quality hand-printed image, and the proceeds from the auction of the original, will go directly to Wildlife Vets International. The funds will be used to carry on the invaluable work with tigers that John had planned for the immediate future.

For expressions of interest in the original painting, or to order a limited edition print, please contact O.Walter@wildlifevets.org. To view more of Penny’s stunning work please see her website.