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.

Element - - World -

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.

African Ele­phant

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.

Black Rhi­noc­eros

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.

Gi­ant Panda

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.

Grevy’s Ze­bra

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.

Siberian Tiger

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.

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