December 2, 2011

New Prints fromThe Endangered Species Print Project

Emerging artists Aaron Johnson, Matthew Hilshorst and Justin Richel have created 3 crazy-colorful prints for The Endangered Species Print Project. Read on to feast your eyes, echo-locators, whiskers, sonar and antennae upon...

The Philippine crocodile is the world's most severely threatened crocodile species and one of the world's most endangered reptiles. Your purchase of this print will support the Mabuwaya Foundation, who rears hatchling crocs to be released into the wild. Who can resist hatchlings of any sort? Or Aaron Johnson's work which has been described as visceral, oozing, and intricate. Oh, and "explosive blasts of protoplasm."

Back by popular demand it's Matthew Hilshorst, ESPP's resident plant painter, with his charming rendition of The Lakeside daisy. Although there are only 40 populations of this Great Lakes region flower left in the wild, conservation efforts are promising. Hilshorst's painting seems to capture that hope. Your purchase of this print supports the work of The Center for Plant Conservation. Matt's other print is almost sold out, so get this one while you can!

Justin Richel's seemingly off-balance stack of 7 Guam Micronesian kingfishers conveys what he refers to as  "...a sense of the precarious nature of existence." The existence of these beautiful birds is precarious indeed; Guam Micronesian kingfishers are now extinct in the wild. Your purchase of this print supports the successful Guam Micronesian Kingfisher Species Survival Plan® at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

Read More about these species, artists and organizations on our website.

And... just so you know, if you haven't black-Friday'ed and Cyber-Monday'ed your bank account away ESPP prints make rather lovely holiday gifts. Indeed ESPP prints are 2 gifts in 1! No we aren't giving away a set of ginza knives if you order in the next 10 minutes. When you give ESPP you give the art lover/animal nerd in your life a beautiful print and a donation to a conservation organization. Order by DEC. 16TH to ensure holiday delivery!

+ 2011 News from ESPP +

Great polar bear in the sky, it has been ice ages since the last ESPP newsletter! Here are some ESPP-related highlights since our last report...

ESPP presentations have been seen and heard at Ryerson Woods, Azimuth Projects, and Root Division.
ESPP prints were exhibited at Kristi Engel Gallery in LA, Root Division in San Francisco and the 2011 Wild Things conference in Chicago.
ESPP's work for The Center for Biological Diversity's endangered species condoms has won 2 Addy Awards and was featured in the New York Times! The condoms have gone into multiple printings and to date over 450,000 of these things have been given away. Zoiks!
ESPP's silverback Jenny Kendler currently has a solo exhibtion of her artwork at Ada Gallery in Richmond, alpha-male Christopher Reiger recently returned from a stint as Artist-In-Residence at The Everglades National Park, and queen bee Molly Schafer recently exhibited her illustration work at the Puget Sound Mycological Society. 

And don't forget, 100% of the proceeds from The Endangered Species Print Project's limited-edition prints support the critically endangered species they depict. Editions are limited to the species' remaining population count.

Season's Greetings fromThe Endangered Species Print Project!

November 8, 2011

ESPP and an Everglades Slough Slog

Everglades National Park; October 2011

For two weeks in October, I had the privilege of living in Everglades National Park, as a guest of the Artist In Residence In the Everglades (AIRIE) program. The residency provides artists and writers with an opportunity "to live and work in Everglades National Park in order to explore and identify the relationship between nature and art." That relationship is as messy as it is rich, and, having returned from Florida to San Francisco, California, I plan to reflect on its complexities by writing essays and creating new artworks.

An important part of the AIRIE mission is "to reach a wider public by calling attention to [the] unique and endangered part of our national heritage." To this end, I presented a lecture to a class from Florida International University Honors College. The presentation began with a survey of my artwork, but transitioned into a talk about the importance of biodiversity and the Endangered Species Print Project (ESPP) model. AIRIE and ESPP are both unconventional efforts to draw popular attention to the plight of our world's imperiled species and habitats. I hope to see more creative partnerships between such enterprises and better funded organizations with more substantial memberships (e.g., World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club); these collaborations are more likely to reach the "wider public."

Local efforts are also vital, of course. The syllabus of "Everglades: from beginning to end?," the FIU class that I met with, is designed to introduce students to the natural history of the Everglades and "the political nature of local and regional environmental issues," but also to "read critically, to understand the interconnectedness of art, literature, and other disciplines." That's an exciting objective; professors Peter Machonis and Devon Graham, co-creators of the FIU class, should be cheered for their thoughtfulness and ambition.

After my lecture, I joined the professors and their students on a slough slog, an off-trail walk through "the river of grass." The students gamely sloshed through the sawgrass marshes and bald cypress stands; at day's end, I had the sense that being there, in the slow-moving water of "the glades," would fortify their relationship to the park lands in a way that no amount of classroom learning could have. Environmental education is a crucial element of a comprehensive conservation ethic, and creative, hands-on learning is the best way to acquaint our increasingly urban populace with the interconnectedness of all life.

July 19, 2011

ESPP in "A Live Animal "at Root Division

If you can check out this show- it is well worth your time. Smart and beautiful images by some really interesting artists.

A Live Animal at Root Division in San Francisco, curated by Christopher Reiger and Selene Foster.

On psychic and cellular levels, what exactly occurs when a human interacts with another animal species? Despite our growing knowledge of biology and natural history, the answer remains something of a mystery. The 24 artists participating in A Live Animal consider such interspecific exchange, be it scientific, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise.

In his landmark essay collection Art As Experience, John Dewey writes “To grasp the sources of aesthetic experience it is [...] necessary to have recourse to animal life below the human scale. [...] The live animal is fully present, all there, in all of its actions: in its wary glances, its sharp sniffings, its abrupt cocking of ears.” Dewey's "live animal" exists in all of us, but is generally unacknowledged or denied. The proliferation of animal imagery in the arts, however, suggests that other species have much to teach us about our own nature. 

There are those who would have us believe it is possible to exist in an Edenic reality where humans and other species live together in peace. Others would have us come to terms with our predatory nature and embrace our propensity for violence. The truth is more complex than either of those perspectives allow. Nonetheless, both speak to contemporary society’s grappling with the existential question, “How should we conceive of and conduct our relationships with other species, and also with one another?"

Surveyed as a whole, the artworks in A Live Animal reflect our inadequate understanding of how best to exist as part of a living, breathing, sensate environment. Individually, however, the works invite us to consider other species through a variety of lenses - mystical, scientific, and philosophical - and to formulate our own approaches to the "animal other." They challenge us to consider the “aesthetic experience” of Dewey's "live animal," one of genuine (if not necessarily sentimental) affinity with all states of being, in light of our current struggle to balance the interests of all parties, be they scaled, furred, feathered, or naked. 

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 9, 7 to 10 pm
Exhibition Dates: July 7 - 30, 2011
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 2-6 pm (or by appointment)

July 19, 2011, 7:30-9:30PM
Suggested donation

July 16, 2011

Endangered Species Print Project at Kristi Engle Gallery

Endangered Species Print Project prints available as part of "Wicked Little Critter" at Kristi Engle Gallery in LA. ESPP will be showing along with our friend and colleague Christopher Reiger.

"Constellation (Canis Rufus)"
by Christopher Reiger

Wicked Little Critter
Curated by Anne Hars
July 9 - August 12, 2011
Reception: Saturday, July 9, 7-10pm
Artist Talk: TBD
Gallery hours: Thursday - Saturday 12 - 6pm & by appointment

Wicked Little Critters, curated by Anne Hars, brings together the work of 12 artists who address the human/animal relationship. Non-human critters in art, be they wild, house-pets, zoo residents, farm animals, or fable characters reflect ethical attitudes of privilege over our dominion. These works reveal among other things, how clearly we comprehend the minds of critters, and how much we project ourselves onto them. This show is dedicated to those wicked ones that continue to play a part in what it means to be human. 

Stephanie Allespach 
Krista Chael
Erin Cosgrove
Leeza Doreian 
Chris Doyle 
Matt Driggs 
Dana Hoey 
Mitsuko Ikeno 
Ian Patrick 
Hirsch Perlman 
Christopher Reiger 
Holly Topping 

With special contributions by the Main Street Museum and the Seabiscuit Foundation Prints from the Endangered Species Print Project will also be available for purchase with all profits donated to Animal conservation organizations. 

Kristi Engle Gallery devotes itself primarily to solo exhibitions of new works by contemporary artists. It is located in Highland Park, near the corner of Ave. 50 and York Blvd.

May 10, 2011

Sumatran Tiger Cubs Found in Threatened Forest

Some very rare and darling tiger cubs were captured on video in a forest being rapidly cleared by the paper & pulp industries. At about 1 minute into the video the cubs are seen playing with a leaf. 

WWF camera traps recorded an astounding 12 tigers in just two months in the central Sumatran landscape of Bukit Tigapuluh, including two mothers with cubs and three young tiger siblings playfully chasing a leaf.
Bukit Tigapuluh was identified as a global priority Tiger Conservation Landscape by leading scientists and is one of six landscapes the government of Indonesia pledged to protect at the November 2010 tiger summit. Unfortunately much of it faces the looming threat of being cleared by the pulp and paper industry which includes companies like Asia Pulp and Paper/Sinar Mas Group and Barito Pacific.
WWF is among the prominent scientists and conservation groups urging the two companies and the Indonesian government to protect these forests that are home to tigers.
It is estimated that only around 400 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild. The Sumatran tiger and the other five surviving tiger subspecies – the Amur, Malayan, Bengal, Indochinese and South China – number as few as 3,200, compared to 100,000 a century ago. WWF is working to build the political, financial and public support to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.

You can support Sumatran tiger conservation through the purchase of ESPP's Sumatran tiger print.

April 20, 2011

Earth Day Party!

In what promises to be a fun event, ESPP will be celebrating Earth Day with the folks from Karen Marie Salon in Chicago. Hors D'oeuvres by local favorite Irazu. And if regular wine isn't bougey enough for you there will be organic wine! We jest, everything is better organic.

There will also be a raffle with enticing prizes to benefit Alliance for the Great Lakes and um...massage chair!

Karen Marie is an eco-consious salon with upcycled interiors, eco-friendly products and practices and... Trisha Star, best hair-doer lady ever.

Two ESPP artists will be on the scene and featured ESPP prints will be available at a discounted price during the run of the show.  A sampling of ESPP prints will be on display at the salon for the next month.

This Friday April 22nd at 6 pm. More details here.

March 25, 2011

ESPP at Wild Things 2011 Conference

The Endangered Species Print Project was an exhibitor at the Wild Things 2011 conference in Chicago.  The conference, held at the University of Illinois, Chicago on a snowy, March day, was organized by Audubon Chicago & The Habitat Project.

We sold ESPP prints and buttons at our lovely booth and raised funds for critically endangered species. Wild Things also helped us to reach a new and awesome audience and spread the good word about ESPP, our artists, and conservationists.

To top it off we met some really cool species. Mostly they were human, but a Red-tailed hawk and a Peregrine - Saker hybrid also stopped by to visit.  We could not resist the chance to hang tough with such skilled predators.

Along with birds, we met bird people, including a knowledgeable young man representing the Chicago Ornithological Society who restored our hope in the youth of today. 

A few falconers accompanied the aforementioned raptors and they had many interesting and wild stories to tell. We learned about the International Heritage Conservancy who work to conserve birds of prey along with the cultural heritage of falconry.

We also learned of a great undertaking by some very nice people to declare a few tracks of regional land as the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. We're crossing our talons that it works out.  You can help by signing their petition here

And our new friend Jason from the Chicago Park District was there - they are always looking for volunteers, you know, to help manage their wild spaces and parks.  If you live in Chicago and want to spend some quality time outdoors here is an idea.

As you can see, loads of great people and projects were represented at the conference which focused on empowering citizen scientists, stewards and advocates with information, networking and good ideas.The keynote speaker was Curt Meine, conservation biologist and writer based in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. He discussed the powerful role of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold in the birth and evolution of ecosystem conservation.

March 24, 2011

Endangered Species Condoms Win Gold Addy Award

The award winning package artwork was created by ESPP founders, Jenny Kendler and Molly Schafer. Package design by Lori Leiber. 

The condoms are a project of the Center for Biological Diversity and aim to underline the impact human overpopulation has on other species.  Visit the project site at

February 12, 2011

Conservationists and Giant Tortoises Evicted From Silhouette Island!

Very sad news... one of The Endangered Species Print Project's first partners The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (NPTS) is being evicted without reason from Silhouette island, where they have spent 14 years conserving wildlife.

NPTS works to conserve many species found only on the Seychelles Islands including giant tortoises previously thought to be extinct. The NPTS giant tortoise conservation project is carried out under the patronage of non other than Sir David Attenborough. In August of 2010 Silhouette Island was declared a national park, a victory for NPTS.

Five months later not only is the conservation group being evicted- so are the giant tortoises! Yes that is correct: no wild tortoises allowed!

Please read on to find out more about the eviction, what it means for biodiversity in the Seychelles including ESPP species like the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat, and what you can do to help.

A Note from NPTS's Dr. Justin Gerlach:

Since 1997 the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles has been based on Silhouette island, one of the richest islands for biodiversity in Seychelles. This has been the base of our conservation projects for giant tortoise, terrapins and the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat. Over the past 14 years our projects on the island have been very successful, we managed to stop a major road development across the island and secured the island's future as a National Park. 

Aldabrachelys arnoldi
Photo by John Pemberton
During the first week of December 2010 we received a letter from the management of Silhouette island telling us to leave the island by the end of the month! No coherent reasons have been given but this appears to be retribution for having caused problems to the management's development agenda in stopping the road from being built and in getting the National Park declared.

We have spent the past few weeks trying to get this changed and the Seychelles Ministry of Environment has been lobbied heavily by various international conservation organizations and private supporters. However, at the end of January a meeting between NPTS, the island management and the Ministry of Environment failed to result in any change other than a postponement of our eviction to the end of March. 

This is obviously very traumatic and a great disappointment for our conservation projects. For the sheath-tailed bat it marks the end of population recovery. Since 1997 we have managed to increase the population from 18 to 40 bats and last year saw the first signs of them expanding into some of the areas they had abandoned in the past. From the end of March habitat management and roost protection will come to an end. We hope we leave the bat population stronger than it was 14 years ago and with a better chance of survival, but the future for the species is once again very uncertain.
The first 8 tortoises being removed from Silhouette Island 

We take consolation from the fact that we have produced a new generation of 160 young tortoises which will live on for at least 100 years. In that time there may be an opportunity to establish pure populations of these tortoises; fortunately these animals live longer than short-term management and development perspectives. 

Register your disapproval of the actions of the Islands Development company and the lack of support from the Ministry of Environment by writing to the Seychelles Minister for Environment.

1.) You can simply copy and paste the following statement, or create your own:

I strongly disapprove of the eviction of the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles from Silhouette island and your lack of protection to the island's flora and fauna.  As Minister for Environment you should work to protect and conserve the unique and endangered biodiversity of the Seychelles. 

 2.) Email to:  
That was easy! To send by post Seychelles Minister for Environment, P.O. Box 166, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles.


You can still support the work of The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles through The Endangered Species Print Project by purchasing our Seychelles sheath-tailed bat print by artist Molly Schafer.  Although NPTS will no longer be able to work to conserve the 40 remaining sheath-tailed bats they will use funds raised by ESPP to conserve other species on the Seychelles Islands.

Read more about the how the eviction will effect the endangered and endemic species of Silhouette here.

Please repost, facebook, and help spread the word!

January 28, 2011

Hi-Tech Poachers Decimating Rhinos in South Africa

In 2010 more rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa than ever before. A total of 333 rhinos. Nearly one a day for an entire year!

Planet Earth does not have that many to spare. All but one of the remaining 5 species of rhino are very much endangered. Africa is home to both Black rhinos and White rhinos.

Population estimates for rhinos are as follows:

Black rhino: 4,240
White rhino: 18,000
Greater One-horned rhino: 2,800-2,850
Sumatran Rhino: 200
Javan Rhino: 40-50

If you find it surprising that rhino poaching has risen in the year 2010, let alone in a year that begins with a 2 you aren't alone. Wildlife poaching has developed with the times and technology. As reported in a recent World Wildlife Fund press release:

 "Today's wildlife poachers are well coordinated and employ advanced technologies. Their sophisticated criminal networks use helicopters, night-vision equipment, veterinary tranquilizers and silencers to kill rhinos at night--attempting to avoid military and law enforcement patrols."

What do poachers do with the rhinos they kill?
They saw off the rhino's horn to sell. Usually they leave the rest of the body where it fell.

Who is buying this grisly prize? 
Once again it is the "traditional Asian medicine" crowd. We don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but you guys are responsible for population decline in numerous species and well...people are still getting cancer and losing their "virility" so perhaps it's time to hang up the hat on this.

28 days into 2011 and 5 more rhinos have been lost to poachers.

Read more about rhinos at

ESPP supports the conservation efforts of the International Rhino Foundation in Asia with "Diminishing Returns"  Christopher Reiger's print of the Javan rhino.