The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to debut its first Cause Awareness exhibition, Creative Conservation: The Art of Endangered Animals. Presented in conjunction with Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: Making a Masterpiece, this original exhibition features painted creations by rescued and rehabilitated animals and wildlife-inspired artwork contributed by human collaborators. Creative Conservation will be on view in the museum’s Lower Lobby and Theater Gallery beginning Earth Day, Friday, April 22.
To produce this unique exhibition, The Walt Disney Family Museum partnered with five wildlife sanctuaries and conservation organizations located around the world—Animals Asia, FOUR PAWS International, Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary, Wildlife ACT, and the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center by the Jane Goodall Institute.
The exhibition is co-curated by Tracie Timmer, Public Programs Manager, and Marina Villar Delgado, Director of Exhibitions and Collections for The Walt Disney Family Museum. “With the upcoming opening of Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: Making a Masterpiece, we wanted to bring awareness to the plight that so many of the beloved animals featured in this film are facing today,” says Timmer. “We hope that Creative Conservation not only brings much-needed funding to these five wildlife sanctuaries, but also a broader understanding of the many ways endangered animals are being threatened in their own habitats, along with what we could all do to help.”
The Earth’s population of wild animals is decreasing at an alarming rate due to the effects of climate change, illegal wildlife crime, and habitat destruction. Fortunately, wildlife sanctuaries worldwide are tirelessly working to combat and reverse these trends, saving numerous species that are suffering from ecological devastation. Art-making is frequently used by some organizations as a form of enrichment for their rescued animals. However, it’s important to note that while some wildlife rescue facilities have been known to force their animals to paint for profit, this is not the practice of sanctuaries involved in Creative Conservation—they provide artistic activities to their rehabilitated animals as an option only for their enrichment and enjoyment.
Abstract paintings and pawprint art showcased in this exhibition have been made by the wildlife currently residing in four of the five partner sanctuaries—including leopards, tigers, chimps, and bears—using non-toxic paints to create art with their paws, claws, snouts, and fur. Wildlife ACT, who support conservation efforts for species of critically endangered African vultures, have submitted artwork created by human advocates. More information about the artists and subjects, and the animals’ inspiring rehabilitation stories, will also be highlighted throughout the exhibition.
Proceeds from the sale of artworks made by the featured endangered animals will go towards supporting their respective partner sanctuary and the important conservation work each of them do. Proceeds from the sale of Andreas Deja’s wildlife-inspired artwork will benefit The Walt Disney Family Museum’s educational initiatives, including the At-Promise Youth Animation Academy.
Creative Conservation: The Art of Endangered Animals—running concurrently with the museum’s next major special exhibition, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: Making a Masterpiece—will be on view to the public from Friday, April 22 through Sunday, October 16, 2022. Admission to Creative Conservation is free to the public; please check in at Ticket Desk on the day of your visit for availability.
About the Sanctuary Partners
Animals Asia is devoted to ending bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals across Asia. They promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change. Founded in 1998, the Animals Asia team has been rescuing bears since 1994. They operate award-winning bear rescue sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, and are the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. The organisation’s founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, Dr.Med.Vet. H.C., Hon LLD is widely recognised as the world’s leading authority on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.
Animals Asia is a registered charity with bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, headquarters in Hong Kong, and offices in Australia, China, Germany, Italy, the UK, USA, and Vietnam. They have a total of 303 staff, with 252 based in China and Vietnam, 28 in their Hong Kong headquarters, and 23 across other offices.
FOUR PAWS International
FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding.
The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals—such as bears, big cats and orangutans—kept in inappropriate conditions and also disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam, and also sanctuaries for rescued animals in 11 countries, FOUR PAWS provides help and long-term solutions.
Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
Panthera Africa is a non-profit organization founded by Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist. The name Panthera Africa is inspired by the passion Lizaene and Cathrine have for the four pantheras; panthera leo—the lion, panthera pardus—the leopard, panthera onca—the jaguar and panthera tigris—the tiger.
Panthera Africa is an environmentally-friendly sanctuary for any captive-bred rescued big cats, where they will be protected and prosper for the rest of their lives.
One of Panthera Africa’s main purposes is to be an educational platform to create awareness about the conditions big cats face in captivity, how together we can end this exploitative industry, and how holistic animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible. They are a true sanctuary where no hands-on interaction, breeding or trading takes place. They are a blueprint of how a nonprofit sanctuary focusing on animal welfare can become self-sufficient, and aim to assist in changing breeding facilities into sustainable, ethical projects where possible. Panthera Africa believe in the connection between both environmental and wildlife conservation, and aim to become the first “green” big cat sanctuary in South Africa that runs solely on solar energy.
Panthera Africa has found its 110-hectare paradise with a beautiful home for their animals, staff, founders and the many volunteers who visit. The land is filled with lots of large trees, a natural spring and an amazing 180-degree mountain view! Panthera Africa strongly believe in the saying “In unity there is strength”—and by standing together, human and animal, they believe in the possibility of a prosperous future for big cats, and take pride in ‘speaking’ on their behalf.
Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (Jane Goodall Institute)
Chimpanzees and other wildlife rescued by the Jane Goodall Institute find a new home at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo. Many orphaned by the international illegal wild meat and pet trades, these chimpanzees receive expert care and rehabilitation by Tchimpounga’s staff and are adopted into new chimpanzee families. Tchimpounga also stands as a beacon against wildlife crime through a ‘Triangle Approach’, which supports relationships with law enforcement and partnership with communities to address the drivers of the illegal trade through sustainable livelihoods, public awareness, and environmental education.
Founded in 1992, Tchimpounga is one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries across countries in Africa, having provided care to more than 200 individuals. Located within the Tchimpounga Nature Reserve, Tchimpounga’s chimpanzees are cared for at a main sanctuary site, as well as three forested island sanctuary sites by Dr. Rebeca Atencia, JGI-Congo’s executive director, and a dedicated team of expert caregivers.
Tchimpounga’s staff provide individualized care plans for each rescued chimpanzee while supporting and ensuring their welfare as they are integrated into communities of other chimpanzees, many of whom are unrelated to one another. Tchimpounga is also home to the Chimpanzee Welfare Index, created by Dr. Atencia (based upon the Great Ape Welfare Index by Amanda Fernie) which rates welfare across criteria ranging from social, psychological, and physical well-being. Connected with local communities, the work at Tchimpounga extends beyond the sanctuary through a holistic approach that tackles the drivers of illegal trade like poverty and lack of available information. By investing in locally grown fruits for the chimpanzees, supporting law enforcement agency confiscations of endangered wildlife, and offering school-based educational programs for youth as well as information billboards, JGI is making great strides in the work to end the trade for good. The facility has also successfully rescued, rehabilitated, and released several groups of mandrill monkeys, pangolins, and a variety of other animals.
We build on the work of our model facility at Tchimpounga, as well as on Dr. Goodall’s inspiring thought leadership, writings, and advocacy to improve non-human animal welfare globally. Through innovations in captive care, advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships, JGI makes sure that every chimpanzee is provided the respect and quality of life they deserve. Through their care model and evaluation system known as the Chimpanzee Welfare Index, JGI is proud that every chimpanzee in Tchimpounga is at or above 97% for positive welfare—which has continued to increase since its implementation. The model is one they share to improve the standards and wellbeing of captive apes around the world.
Wildlife ACT is a non-profit organization that was established in South Africa in 2010 with a vision to save Africa’s iconic and endangered species from extinction, thereby enabling broad-scale biodiversity conservation. Through strategic partnerships and sustainable funding models the organizations mission is to: Implement professional and strategic monitoring and research to enable and inform effective conservation management of wildlife; Identify and develop programs within surrounding communities to support wildlife conservation; Secure existing protected areas and support range expansion of African wildlife.
Wildlife ACT’s Vulture Conservation Programme works towards the following three main objectives: Population Stabilization and Habitat Protection, Education and Community Conservation, and Improved Advocacy.
They believe that partnerships are crucial to effectively carry out the work required in this space, and that partnerships bring stability and consistency of approach with the benefits of continuity. As active members of Project Vulture, the Zululand Vulture Project, the Bearded Vulture Task Force and the South African National Vulture Task Force, these objectives and the work that Wildlife ACT does to achieve them are guided by the Multi-species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), and contribute to the Biodiversity Management Plan for Vultures in South Africa.