Here are the newly finished paintings of Wyatt and Ajax, the Amur Leopard couple I met at the Santa Barbara Zoo last year. Ajax (the female on the right) had just arrived from a zoo in the U.K. because the AZA had determined that a mating with Wyatt would be fabulous for their species’ gene pool. They were not yet in the same space at the same time last March, alternating days in their public habitat. Now they are apparently “inseparable.” The small and beautiful Santa Barbara Zoo has a long history of supporting endangered species and have been instrumental in saving both the California Condor and the Channel Island Fox from the literal brink of extinction. They hope to add these leopards to that list.
As to Amur Leopards, the most endangered of the big cats, Russia has set up a wildlife refuge in their native Siberian habitat (home also to the Amur aka Siberian tiger). The long-term plan is for the offspring of mating pairs like Ajax and Wyatt to help repopulate their species in their native habitat.
The other portraits I finished this quarter are:
- Ajari, a silverback Western Lowland Gorilla from the Houston Zoo (48×48)
- Zuberi, a young female African elephant from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita (36×36), and
- Markhor (Molting). (24×24) (I have reached out to the LA Zoo to learn his name but haven’t heard back yet)
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Waiting for the trees outside my window to begin their hint of green that heralds spring. More than ready!