Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Flamingo

Over the next week, I will be bringing you previews of the work that will be exhibited at May 26th's "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," the endangered species benefit that Andrew Hosner and I are co-curating at Thinkspace. 20% of the proceeds of the show will go to Born Free USA to help threatened wildlife. Hope to see you there!

Jessica Joslin "Delphine"

Flamingos are a widespread family of wading birds that can live to 40 years or more. Ranging from light pink to bright red, their coloration is caused by the brine shrimp in their diet. The more colorful a flamingo’s feathers, the healthier the bird. When sleeping, they often stand on one leg, with the other tucked beneath their body and their heads curved to the right to rest along their backs. Extremely social birds, they live in colonies that often number in the thousands, with some large lakes in Africa hosting millions of flamingos that flock together in vast pink clouds.

Although the flamingo population is still numerous, it is in decline. They are threatened by a number of unknown diseases, the effects of which are exacerbated by drought and climate change. Their eggs are collected and eaten by many indigenous peoples, and they are sometimes hunted for their tongues, which have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. Currently, their most pressing threat is industrial development on Tanzania’s Lake Natron, which would displace a massive breeding colony of Lesser Flamingos that nests there, comprising three-quarters of the world’s Lesser Flamingos.

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