Beyond OZ . . . Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

August 11, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Over the last decade, I have travelled the world in a quest to catch a glimpse of three keystone predators, the lion, the tiger and the bear—each serving a critical role in creating and maintaining their respective ecosystems. My adventures took me to Nagpur, India, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. These amazing experiences served as the inspiration for this series of paintings as I was driven to express the beauty and power of these august carnivores!

During my studies I learned great deal about the characteristics of each of these species and what makes them special and unique. I was intrigued to learn that tigers love to swim, but will only enter the water backwards because they don't like to get water in their eyes. The African lions spend about 20 hours per day sleeping! The great Grizzly's coat consists of black, cinnamon, red, blonde, brown or mixes of these colors and the tips of their outer hairs are usually tipped with white or silver lending to a "grizzled" effect thus providing the reasoning behind their name.

However, I was also saddened to learn that all three of these animals are endangered—there are less than 3,500 tigers left in the wild worldwide; less than 20,000 lions in Africa (compared to 200,000 in the early 1980's); and only 1,000 Grizzlies left in the Continental U.S. The main threat to these animals has been from humans, whether from habitat encroachment, hunting for fun, or poaching for supposed cures to human illness. It is a matter of time before the trouncing of these great animals will eventually trickle down and come back to bite us in many ways. Imagine having your children's only knowledge of tigers being as mythical fairytales creatures.

Compelled to raise awareness of these tragedies, I use my art as a way to share the preciousness of their being. You too can help in many ways, such as supporting organizations that are dedicated to protecting endangered wild animals, voting for laws and leaders that support environmental protection, and by buying from only reputable manufacturers. May the Lion, the Tiger and the Bear continue to be the kings of their own continents forever!


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