Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Lion

Over the next two weeks, 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!

DAL "Golden Dusk"


Once the most widely ranging large predator in the world, the lion is now extinct across most of its habitat. The last wild Barbary Lion was killed in 1922, and the wild population of the Asiatic Lion currently stands at just 411 individuals. African lions now face an indirect threat from global warming called co-infection. In east Africa, recent severe droughts have weakened lions, making them more susceptible to diseases that they are normally able to fight off. Scientists are fearful that as the weather becomes warmer, it could favor the spread of disease, making co-infection more rampant. Lions are also facing many human threats such as population growth and agricultural expansion, resulting in loss of natural habitat, as well as hunting, poisoning and poaching by livestock ranchers.

As the inspiration for the classic 1966 film Born Free, the plight of the African lion is especially meaningful to everyone at Born Free. Recently, Born Free rescued four captive lions and transported them to Ensessakotteh, Ethiopia’s first wildlife rescue, conservation and education center, where the foundation has made a commitment to caring for them humanely for the rest of their lives.

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