Only last month we saw the launch of Endangered 13 here in the UK – ‘A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species’. It looks like America got there ahead of us once again!
Art takes nature as its model. ~ Aristotle
If nature inspires art, maybe art can inspire people to protect nature. That’s the hope of the Centre for Biological Diversity, and that’s why they’re teaming up with local artists to bring endangered wildlife on to city streets all over the USA in art.
Each mural will feature wildlife species special, if not unique, to the region. And the CBD is actively fighting for the survival of each and every one. So far, seven are completed.
“The goal of this project is fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them”
In Los Angeles, the yellow-billed cuckoo features, a rare song bird that migrates between North and South America. The mural, called We Always Had Wings, was painted by 15 migrant female students under the guidance of artist Jess X Chen. You can see their self-portraits under the birds outspread wings.
The mountain caribou in Sandpoint, Idaho – its last remaining territory. This mural is huge. People standing next to it barely come up to the caribou’s knee.
The Arctic grayling’s gorgeous colours in Butte, Montana.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the famous migrating monarch butterfly once forming dense clouds and turning forests orange, now dangerously threatened by habitat loss, climate change and pesticides. Take Action here
The watercress darter in Birmingham, Alabama, the only place where it is to be found. The mural 5 metres x 10 metres depicts this little fish which is just a few centimetres long.
The Blue Whale – LA again. The Blue Whale is the largest creature ever to have lived on earth. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant, their hearts as much as a car.
And the very latest, unveiled on May 19th in Tucson, Arizona, featuring the famous resident jaguar, El Jefe, The Chief. El Jefe is thought to be the last wild jaguar in America.
Such a beautiful cat, and yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is willing to let a foreign mining company blast a giant crater right in El Jefe’s home. Send USFWS a message right here if you think that’s wrong Click here and here
There are more to come: the pink bucket mussel and the Ozark hellbender – with names like that we should expect something spectacular! The Colorado river fish, and the bull trout of Oregon. With additional funds the Centre for Biological Diversity could extend the project to cover more species in more locations in the States.
A Message From the Artist
“Everywhere on Earth is unique, with qualities that distinguish it from other places both near and far. One of those qualities is the biodiversity of a place — the plants and animals that call it home and may not be found anywhere else. Those species embody an area’s natural history and contribute to what makes it irreplaceable. They also have something to say about the future, as many are in danger of going extinct. And when we lose species, the places and lives we live become poorer and shallower places as a result. To help bring these species into the light, we decided to paint them on the walls.
“The goal of this project is to create murals in towns and cities around the United States that focus on endangered species, fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that’s a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen off a tree trunk, we’re bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they’re created, making it a little easier for people to care about the native species struggling to survive in their midst.”
Roger Peet is a Portland-based artist who is coordinating this project in association with the Center for Biological Diversity.
October 2016 El Jefe features on the cover of, and in an article in the Smithsonian Magazine
10th December 2016 El Jefe has company – another young male jaguar
7th March 2017 A third jaguar joins El Jefe and friend