There is nothing cuter than a numbat, says Corryong artist Kat Brown.
But it was, in fact, her daughter Beccy who alerted her to the appeal of the endangered little native marsupial with its distinctive striped markings.
Since then the printmaker has been captivated by the little-known creature that likes to dine on termites and was once widespread throughout Australia but has been reduced to a population of less than 1000 thanks to introduced predators including foxes and cats.
Now the plight of the numbat and other threatened Australian animals is being highlighted in an evocative colouring-in book put together by Wangaratta-based graphic artist Emily Burke.
The Australiana Colouring Book features 15 designs of Australian wildlife contributed by artists who share a deep love of native flora and fauna but also come from many bushfire-affected regions.
What's a little different about this all-ages colouring-in book, though, is that beside each unique artwork is a page of information on the species depicted, including tips on what people can do to help preserve these endangered or vulnerable animals and plants, their habitats or ecosystems.
Ms Burke said she felt compelled to act after seeing the devastating impact of the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires, which killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals in the single worst event for wildlife in Australia.
So she reached out to artists and creative friends and asked if they would contribute a design from a list of species she had meticulously researched.
"I learned a lot about ecosystems and habitats - the book is really very educational," said Ms Burke, who has previously published a colouring-in book to support the work of Beyond Blue.
"The 40-page book also includes a profile on each artist and their amazing stories - some of them, like Kat (Brown), experienced the bushfires first-hand."
Ms Burke is donating $10 of every ($16) colouring-in book sold to Warriors 4 Wildlife, a volunteer-run not-for-profit charity dedicated to helping sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned animals in need.
"Warriors 4 Wildlife is also passionate about sustainability and conservation," she said.
"Education is so important when it comes to understanding how we can all help our native flora and fauna, especially in times of drought and extreme bushfire."
The book, which is being sold on Etsy and at local retailers in Wangaratta, is already proving popular with 200 copies sold since its release two weeks ago.
Ms Brown, who is currently working on a detailed lino print of Corryong, has been so inspired by the concept of the colouring-in book she's created another light-hearted numbat print she hopes can support the work of the Numbat Wilderness Society.
"The numbat used to be found across Victoria, NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory but has been wiped out," she said.
"There are a few in Western Australia and a sanctuary and breeding program has been started to ensure their survival.
"I have loved being a part of a project that is fun but also educational."
- To order a copy go to https://etsy.me/35eDDzZ