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The Green Life: Rare Art for Rare Animals

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July 27, 2009

Rare Art for Rare Animals

The endangered Vancouver Island Marmot Even for those of us who are working to protect the planet every day, the word "endangered" can seem like a vague term. Jenny Kendler and Molly Schafer, the artists behind the Endangered Species Print Project, bring critically endangered animals into focus with a series of wildlife prints available in quantities that correspond to the known population of each species. Want one of these prints? You'd better act now, because some populations (and thus the corresponding prints) are mind-bogglingly small. For example, only 140 Vancouver Island marmots (pictured above) remain, while the number of Panamanian golden frogs known to exist has dwindled to about 40. The artists are in close contact with the scientists on the front lines to ensure the print runs match the latest population estimates. Kendler and Schafer recently made two additional Seychelles sheath-tailed bat prints after researchers noted the population increased from 35 to 37. The artists have cleverly succeeded in activating consumers' "limited quantities--buy now" instinct, though it's followed by an eerie feeling that each print represents a member of a species that's teetering on the brink of oblivion. In this case, however, each purchase has the potential to ensure that "quantities" will last (or increase). That's because the net proceeds from each print go directly to an organization that specializes in the conservation of that particular species such as the Marmot Recovery Foundation, Project Golden Frog, or Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles.

--Della Watson

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