The El Art Exhibition, featuring paintings done by three of the Zoo’s elephants is running until the 31 of August in the Lobby of InterContinental Perth Burswood and is open to the public free of charge.
Carefully taught by their keepers and using water and vegetable based non-toxic paint, painting is a favourite activity of the elephants. Not only does it keep them mentally and physically stimulated, the sale of their masterpieces is helping protect Asian Elephants in the wild.
Perth Zoo’s resident artists creating paintings to fundraise for conservation.
Through Ele Art, the Zoo’s elephants are making a modest but significant contribution to conservation, raising more than $20,000 over the past 12 months. The proceeds help fund conservation efforts in the wild including Wildlife Protection Units and a survey of Sumatran elephants in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Without the concerted effort of conservation organisations like Perth Zoo the future for asian elephants in the wild is bleak.
Perth Zoo elephant keeper Claire Stratford says there could be as few as 23,000 asian elephants left in the world today.
“At Perth Zoo we and our elephants are helping to conserve this species in the wild by protecting habitat and at the same time provide our elephants with the best care possible,” she said.
“We’ve learned to read their moods, so one thing we do know, they absolutely love painting. When we walk in with the brushes and the tins of paint, we can see them get excited. They flap their ears and come rushing over to begin.”
Stratford said that like any intelligent animal, elephants thrive on learning new skills.
“We began by teaching them to use paintbrushes. They then learned foot and trunk prints before moving on to spray painting,” Stratford said. “We’ve come a long way in the past 18 months. When you look at the original spray paintings and compare them to the ones they are producing today there is a significant difference. ”
The El Art event not only raises needed funds but awareness of the role the Zoo is playing in the conservation of threatened species in the wild.
Paintings like the one above, done by elephants at the Perth Zoo
are on exhibition raising funds for conservation.
The prices of the paintings range from $400 to $600, depending on size. (Overseas and Interstate delivery will incur extra charges.) If you’re interested in acquiring one of these unique works of art, please phone 0402 959 594.