Art is powerful because it empowers the hearts of people.
Inspired by a large new wolf sculpture located at the entrance of the Zoo’s new $15-million Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit, the El Paso Zoo has launched a new Art as a Conservation Tool program inviting students in the El Paso, Texas – Juarez, Mexico region to participate in a project that will shine a light on the Mexican wolf and the actions underway to save the species from extinction with a focus on Texas.
Participants are invited to use creative resources to create art, sculpture, textiles, collages, write a poem or story, video or audio to create a piece of art that reflects the Mexican wolf. Learn more about how you can get started and share your art with the world by contacting the El Paso Zoo Education Department.
Learn more about the Mexican Wolf
El Paso Zoo and Botanical Garden Wolf Conservation Program
US Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Information
Thirty miles northeast of El Paso you can see 3,000 cave pictographs painted by hunter-gatherer archaic people. The Hueco Tanks art depicts animals and activities of a life thousands of years old; it provides a visual legacy of the human desire to document their environment and understand their place in it. Art can illuminate how we see the world and move us to express how we experience and appreciate nature.
Artwork exhibiting wildlife or wild habitats has the power to create an emotional connection between people and animals and has the power to move people to action. For example, a photograph or painting of an elephant may excite you and inspire you to see one in a Zoo or in its natural habitat. Now imagine seeing a piece of art that shows an elephant killed for its ivory tusks or a photograph of their burning habitat. This may make you sad or angry, but it might also inspire you to sign a petition to change the laws protecting elephants.
The El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources while creating opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature. Spending time exploring, observing or doing activities related to the outdoors can invigorate our connection with nature and inspire a lifelong stewardship for wildlife and our surroundings. Though awareness and knowledge are not enough to cause long-lasting behavior changes, they can provide a basis or readiness for learning and participation.
Wolf Sculpture at the Zoo
The new wolf in the sculpture at the Zoo is made from three blocks of Colorado sandstone each weighing about 8,000 lbs. The blocks were carved individually then stacked for final shaping. As a part of the process, the artist’s team studied the Mexican wolf and the Chihuahuan Desert to develop an understanding of the place and its inhabitants. In this way, they hope that the art not only accurately portrays the environment but also inspires the viewer to learn more about this precious resource. For example, the Mexican Wolf is a part of the larger Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem and relies on the other species of the desert to survive and thrive. The stones that surround the wolf sculpture contain images of other species that live with the wolf and that rely on each other. These plant and animal relationships showcase the interdependence of the species within the desert community:
-Agave (century plant) and the Mexican long-nose bat
-Yucca and the yucca moth
-Blue gramma grass, deer, and the wolf
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