Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Tiger

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!

Fuco Ueda "Taiger III"

Tigers once ranged from Turkey to the east coast of Russia, and from Siberia to Indonesia. Over the past century, they have been extirpated from 93% of their habitat. All of the remaining six tiger subspecies have been classified as endangered, with a combined global population of less than 4,000 individuals. The South China Tiger is the most critically endangered, and may be extinct in the wild. Up to the 20th century, the South China Tiger ranged throughout southern China and Hong Kong. In the 1950s, during Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, the tiger and other predators such as leopards and wolves were considered “enemies of the people” because they sometimes attacked farms and villages. As a result, several “anti-pest” campaigns started, and the wild population of the South China Tiger fell from more than 4,000 to less than 40 by 1987. The Chinese government later reversed the classification of the tiger, banning hunting altogether in 1977, but it appears to have been too late. No South China Tiger has been seen in the wild for the last 30 years, and only 59 individuals remain in captivity. Efforts are now underway to “rewild” South China Tigers born after generations of captivity.

Born Free is committed to rescuing the big cats from cruel captive situations, and re-homing them to sanctuaries in their native habitats to live as comfortable a life as possible. They maintain a tiger sanctuary set within Bannerghatta Wildlife Park in southern India, where each tiger has acres of undergrowth to explore and his own pool to lie in.

Kelly Allen "Belladonna"

Shark Toof "Two Girls and Three Tigers Show"

Lindsey Carr "Negotiate With a Tiger for Its Skin"

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