Baiji by Sonya Hallett

 

Today we have a painting of the baiji river dolphin by Sonya Hallett. The baiji was found in the Yangtze River. It was a beautiful creature, and fascinated the ancient Chinese who according to legend believed it to be the spirit of a drowned princess. You may be noticing all the past tense I’m using. That is because the baiji is probably extinct. For years people were calling for the baiji to be protected and for breeding programs to be set up. But those cries were ignored and as the Yangtze grew more congested with traffic and pollution the population of baiji grew smaller and smaller. The most recent population survey in 2009 was unable to find a single live specimen, and barring some miracle this means that the baiji is lost forever.

 

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Abu Markub, by Sabine Bartel

Sabine has sent to me the fully finished version of her comic from our live event. This lovely comic was done in pen with ink wash. You may remember our earlier post about the shoebill, well Sabine did a lot of research on this bird. She found an old text written by the first western explorers to see the bird, and from their descriptions she became inspired to make this short comic.

 

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Endangered Life Band

Today we have a treat for you. This animation was submitted by Sonya Hallett and features a number of Edge species.

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Paintings from Aimee Lockwood

Today I have three gorgeous paintings to share with you, sent in from contributing artist Aimee Lockwood.

Remember, when you donate you not only help raise money for Edge of Existence and encourage more artists to produce great work here, but you also get access to our upcoming anthology of artwork, including giant, high res versions of all three of these great paintings.

The Bactrian Camel. Fewer than 1,000 of these two-humped camels survive today in one of the most hostile regions on earth.

Hewitt’s Ghost Frog is a very attractive frog adapted to life in fast-flowing mountain streams and rivers.

The Red Slender Loris is characterised by its enormous eyes and extremely thin limbs.

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Live Art Event at Mosaic House

Mike and Allison at work

Mike’s comic starring the Chinese Giant Salamander, Olm and Purple Frog

Allison begins adding a Sagalla Caecillian to her painting

Sabine working on her comic

Sabine’s Shoebill-inspired comic

Sabine wasn’t the only artist inspired by the charismatic Shoebill

Matt painting his Long-Beaked Echidna

Echidna in progress

Louise and Paddy set up their VJ show, inspired by many exotic species

Stay tuned for the finished work.

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State of the Art For… Union

Tomorrow is our first live event at Mosaic House here in Prague. All day long our artists will be working on fantastic art to raise awareness for hundreds of endangered species, including the small sampling I have blogged about. If you’re not in Prague but would still like to support us, you’re in luck! The first edition of our charity anthology will be available on this website next week. All summer long you can look forward to updates from artists all over the world sending in comics, paintings, animation and more. Then in the fall we will be ready to announce our next big project.

In the mean time, here is an adorable baby Golden Rumped Sengi (Elephant Shrew). Sengis have absolutely amazing brains that I will do a more detailed blog post on in time. Until then, did you know that elephant shrews are actually closer related to elephants than the naturalists who named them originally thought? Its true, they are in fact significantly more elephant than shrew.

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The Hispaniolan Solenodon

Solenodons might resemble over-sized shrews, but their true origins are quite different. These primitive mammals first emerged in the Cretaceous Period. They are one of the oldest living mammal orders in the world. There are only two living species of solenodon today, the Cuban and the Hispaniolan. Both are on the verge of extinction, which would put an end to one of the longest running unique mammal orders in history.

The Hispaniolan solenodon is found only in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are at great risk due to the lost of habitat, increased human activity, and the introduction of predators such as cats, dogs and mongooses. While the animal is protected by law, the national parks of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic are threatened by human encroachment.

Did you know that the solenodon is one of the few mammals with toxic saliva? Or that it injects this saliva using special grooves in its teeth? I like that we have poisonous prehistoric critters running around our world, and if it were up to me I would keep it that way.

Here is a solenodon I drew earlier today.

I actually hate the coloring job I did on this one, so here’s a coloring book version.

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