ENDANGERED

ENDANGERED

description

a grouping of 9 wall sculptures upcycled materials; varnish glue These days the news report on one animal after another getting declared extinct. Unlike previous similar events in our planet’s history, this wave of extinctions is directly tied to human activities such as the man-made climate crisis, environmental pollution, deforestation, local ecosystem collapses, and so on. The list of endangered species is long and heartbreaking. The 9 animals forming this installation are among many more that are listed as endangered. Something has to be done immediately if we want for these species to still exist in the future. ENDANGERED is a part of my larger series Magical Zoo dedicated to animal species impacted by the human activities. The medium of the series is sustainable post consumer up-cycled material including packaging, paper, foil, fabric leftovers, etc. with the addition of transparent varnish glue. I believe that artists have a role and a responsibility in highlighting and helping heal the ails of the society at large. My series Magical Zoo aims to fulfill this role through bringing attention to the urgent issues of environmental preservation, and through directly reducing my own ecological footprint by re-routing some of the refuse material I encounter away from landfills and into art. Descriptions of elements (left to right, top to bottom) Grévy's zebra Grévy's zebra is the largest and the most threatened species of zebra. Historically they’ve been widespread in the plains of Eastern Africa. Recently, due to a rapid decline in their population, they can only be found in a few areas in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. The stripes on each animal are as unique as a human fingerprint. The Grévy’s zebras are social animals. Their loosely-established herds don’t appear to have a strict hierarchy, and can form and disperse throughout the year. Some males establish their own territory to which they become attached. Territorial males have mating privileges. Foals may travel alongside their mothers for up to 3 years. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: habitat loss, illegal hunting, pouching for the skins Wild Water Buffalo Wild water buffalo, or Asian buffalo, is endemic to the wet grasslands and swamps of the Indochinese Peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is both diurnal and nocturnal, and is one of the heaviest bovid species living in the wild, adults reaching around 900 kg (2000 lbs). Males are three times bigger than females. Both sexes of the buffalo have horns. Mothers form strong bonds with their calves, and live in territory-based families that are led by an old female. These families form a larger herd. Adult males typically form smaller groups of their own, with older males often separating from them and living solitary. The wild water buffaloes feed on crops and grasses. They are more sensitive to heat than most bovids because they have fewer sweat glands, and spend most of the daytime submerged in the muddy waters of swamps and rivers in order to cool their bodies down and protect themselves from insect bites. One of the threats they face is interbreeding with domestic buffalo. The domestication of the water buffalo took place some 5000 years ago. The global population of the wild water buffalo is estimated at less than 4000 individuals, and is projected to continue declining. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: habitat loss, hunting, interbreeding with domestic buffalo Polar Bear Polar bears have evolved from Brown bears as recently as 150 000 years ago. They inhabit the Arctic, spending most of their lives on the sea ice, and are considered a marine mammal. Their fur appears to be white, but is actually translucent. It appears white because it reflects light, while the skin under it is actually black. The polar bear’s fur has water-repellent properties and, along with a 10-centimetre layer of blubber under the skin, keeps the animals warm and dry. Polar bears are the largest existing land carnivore. The males can weigh twice as much as the females. Females raise their young alone, and care for them for the first 2-3 years of their lives. Polar bears can swim for hours at a time. They paddle with their front paws and hold the hind legs stretched out, reaching speeds of up to 6 mph in water. The warming temperatures in the Arctic in the recent years cause for the sea ice to melt, destroying their habitat and limiting their access to food sources. Conservation status: vulnerable. Listed as threatened in the US, while Canada and Russia list them as species of special concern. Threats to existence: habitat loss due to climate change. Kagu (Cagou) Kagu or cagou is a bird endemic to the islands of New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific. They are about 55 cm (22 inches in length), are virtually flightless, and typically live on a forest floor, feeding on snails, lizards and insects, and resting on low branches or fallen tree trunks. Their coloration of a light grey plumage and bright red legs and beak seem unusual for a ground-dwelling bird. Their wings and an erectile head crest are used for display behaviours to attract mates or ward off predators. Adults form couples, building nests of sticks or leaves, incubating a single egg, and rearing the chick together. The kagu has no living close relatives, and there is some debate as to this bird’s full biological order classification and lineage. They are the only bird that have ‘nasal corns’, small flaps that cover the nostrils on the sides of the beak. The kagu almost became extinct during the 1800 because it was hunted for its crest feathers to be used for fashion hats. Their current population is estimated 250 to 1000 adult birds. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: deforestation, habitat loss, predation by invasive species brought to the islands by humans Bonobo Bonobo, along with chimpanzees, are our closest existing relatives, sharing a 98.7% of their DNA with humans. Although looking similar to chimpanzees, they are a different species, and are usually smaller and darker in colour. Their social groups are female-led, and tend to be peaceful. The only place bonobo can be found in the wild today is the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bonobo are listed as endangered, and their population is projected to decline. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: commercial poaching, habitat destruction Kangaroo Island Dunnart Kangaroo Island dunnarts are only found on the Kangaroo Island, South Australia. They are tiny marsupials, with the adults being 8-9 cm long and weighing under 25 grams. They are nocturnal, and their diet consists mainly of insects such as spiders and ants. Females have a pouch that can hold more than one baby, and they can give birth more than once a year. Being one of Australia’s 10 most endangered species with estimated less than 500 individuals in the wild prior to the fall of 2019, this species is on the brink of extinction following the Australian bushfires that have burned down about a third of the Kangaroo Island, their only habitat. Conservation status: critically endangered. Threats to existence: wildfires, habitat loss, predation by feral cats and other predators Skyros Pony Skyros Pony is one of the rarest horse breeds in the world, living on the Skyros island of Greece in the Aegean sea. It is a miniature horse, typically under 115 cm tall, with a body proportioned like that of a large horse. They have lived on the island for a number of centuries, but their exact origins are unknown. Skyros ponies are believed to have descended from the horses brought to the island by the Greek colonists during the 5th-8th century BCE. They are the breed of horses that drew the chariot of the hero Achilles in Greek mythology, and they are depicted on the frieze of the Pantheon in Athens. Skyros ponies have mostly developed as a wild breed, while being occasionally used by local farmers for seasonal farm labour. This practice has largely stopped after the 1960s due to the increased farm mechanization. Skyros ponies are friendly, social, and intelligent animals. In 2009 there was a total of 220 individual Skyros ponies living in Greece. Conservation status: critically endangered. Threats to existence: habitat loss, interbreeding with other species African Wild Dog African wild dog comes from sub-Saharan Africa. They live in the savanna, and typically avoid forested areas. They feed on a hyper-carnivorous diet, and cannot be domesticated. African wild dogs live in packs, and are known for their strong social ties. The entire adult part of the African wild dog pack rears pups together. They’ve been known to care for injured pack members by defending them from predators, and by bringing them food until they are recovered. While these dogs have a strict hierarchy, they appear to make many decisions, especially around hunting, as a group. The individual members of the pack place their “votes” by sneeze-like vocalization. Depending on the voting results, a pack may or may not proceed with a hunt. No two dogs have the same markings, which makes it easy to identify individual animals for research. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: habitat loss, predation by lions, extermination by humans Okapi Okapi, also know as the forest giraffe, are one of the oldest living mammals on Earth. They are native to Central Africa, and can only be found in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They live in dense vegetation at altitudes of about 1000 meters. They are the only living relative of the giraffe. Just like the giraffe, they have long, dark tongues, and the males have short, fur-covered, horn-like ossicones on their foreheads. Okapi are secretive, solitary animals living on overlapping home territories. The mothers communicate with their calves in infrasonic calls that cannot be heard by a human ear. Okapi are herbivores, and are only active during daytime. Their lifespan in captivity can reach 30 years, however their lifespan in the wild is unknown. Conservation status: endangered. Threats to existence: deforestation, mining, poaching