Then and now for Andy Warhol's Endangered Species...
Andy Warhol’s exhibition Endangered Species went on show last week in Dulwich, England, almost thirty years after it was first unveiled.
Featuring ten animals which were under threat in 1983, the good news is that none of them have yet disappeared, and the situations of some of the species has markedly improved. Others, however, are in worse trouble.
THEN: approximately one million animals
NOW: less than 500,000 Ivory poaching remains a problem and is even growing in some areas (it should also be noted that southern Africa lifted its ban on ivory trade in 2008, to the opposition of some conservation groups), but an equally significant issue is habitat loss.
Bald Eagle, US
THEN: a few hundred
NOW: around 10,000 breeding pairs Hunting, power-line electrocutions, collisions in flight, oil, lead and mercury pollution and the insecticide DDT all conspired to bring a population of bald eagles in the US from half a million birds in the 18th century to just 412 nesting pairs in 1950. Protection laws and the banning of DDT in 1972 has seen a remarkable comeback for the bald eagle.
THEN: approximately 10,000
NOW: far fewer, with one sub species declared extinct A poaching epidemic was to blame for the numbers of black rhinos dropping 96% in just over 20 years, from 1970 to 1992. From 70,000 animals in 1970, the population is now approximately 4,500.
STATUS: much the same as 30 years ago During the Cultural Revolution all study of pandas was stopped, along with conservation efforts. Much knowledge and wisdom was lost. During the 1990s gun control and the removal of resident humans from an increasing number of reserves helped to stabilise numbers.
THEN: approximately 10,000
NOW: fewer than 3,500 Once found widely throughout East Africa, a rapid decline in their population means they are now found only in the northern parts of Kenya and a few pockets in southern Ethiopia. The population was 15,000 in the 1970s: by the early 21st century this had shrunk to fewer than 3,500, a 75% decline. Poaching is the cause.
THEN: approximately 180,000
NOW: Fewer than 15,000 Over the past decade orangutan habitat has decreased rapidly due to logging, forest fires and road building. Palm oil has been major factor, with the conversion of vast areas of forest to palm plantations. Orangutans have been killed for bushmeat, crop protection or use in traditional medicine. Some estimate that they could be extinct in 10 years.
Pine Barrens Tree Frog
STATUS: has gone from endangered to threatened Vibrant green and boldly marked, the Pine Barrens tree frog is one of the south-eastern USA’s most beautiful amphibians. It was listed as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service between 1977 and 1983, due to its restricted range and declining population, habitat loss, and pollution. Although endangered, the Pine Barrens tree frog is currently considered stable in New Jersey.
San Francisco Silverspot Butterfly
STATUS: worse, only two colonies left. This butterfly is more generally known as the Callippe silverspot. Historically this butterfly inhabited grasslands ranging over much of the northern San Francisco Bay region. The species was known to occur in seven populations. Five coloniesno longer exist and it now occurs in only two grassland spots near Oakland and on San Bruno Mountain.
STATUS: Much the same – around 300 The Siberian or Amur tiger is a subspecies. In the early part of the twentieth century it was threatened with extinction due to war and hunting. The population has now been stable for a decade due to conservation efforts, but surveys indicate that the Russian tiger population is declining.