Zookeeper’s art on show
For Justine Woosnam, animals are both a job and a passion.
The Auckland zookeeper looks after creatures including cheetahs, tigers and giraffes during the day and paints them at night.
Her work can be seen in the zoo’s art for conservation exhibition which starts tomorrow in honour of World Environment Day.
She has created 13 pictures of Auckland Zoo animals, including the cheetah, lion, orangutan, frog and rhino.
The works will be shown alongside art from elephants Kashin and Burma and chimpanzee Janie, who regularly paint as part of their behavioural development programme.
Zoo conservation officer Peter Fraser says Justine’s work is amazing.
“Anyone who is familiar with some of our iconic animals will appreciate just how brilliantly she has captured their essence,” he says.
The exhibition is being held in support of the Amphibian Ark 2008 year of the frog.
The World Conservation Union and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums formed Amphibian Ark to help raise money to save endangered frogs from extinction.
A third of the world’s 6300 amphibian species are threat- ened with extinction because of disease, pollution, pests and climate change.
Mr Fraser says the event gives people the chance to enjoy good artwork.
“And at the same time, they’ll be helping to save New Zealand native frogs, among the most critically endangered amphibians on the planet, and other amphibians around the world that are also in crisis.”
Art for conservation will be open for public viewing from Friday until Sunday. Artworks can be viewed at the zoo’s old elephant house from 11am to 3pm. Normal zoo admission prices apply.
Auckland Zoo is also offering half price admission for people who walk, cycle or bus to the zoo between 9.30am and 4pm tomorrow for World Environment Day. For more information phone 360-3805.
Animal inspiration: Zookeeper Justine Woosnam has painted many of Auckland Zoo’s inhabitants for the art for conservation exhibition.