Artist turns French beach into message for Australia

Giant fresco of koala drawn on sand in Nouvelle Aquitaine delivers dual message - with a little help from passers-by

A drawing of a giant koala on a beach in western France is intended as a message of support to Australia and a warning about the future of the planet.

Beach artist Jben, whose palette is sand, created the fresco is a huge koala that hugs the planet on the beach at Royan, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, at low-tide.

Read more: French zoo's pouch plan for Australia's animal orphans

Read more: How you can help Australia's firefighters

Huge bushfires have been burning across a massive area of south-east of Australia since September: eight million hectares (80,000 km²) is on fire, almost 10 times the size of Corsica - and three times larger than the 25,000 km² destroyed in the Amazon last summer. Almost 2,000 houses have been destroyed, and more than 500million animals killed.

"We can see that Australia is dying and with it a small part of us. I wanted to pay tribute to the Australian people and send them positive vibes," the artist told France 3.

As well as his artistic efforts, he asked walkers on the beach to draw hearts in the sand before the tide came in and hug each other - hence the hashtag #hugyourplanet

Read more: French town with Australia link raises €13k for fires

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