The Oakland Zoo in California recently auctioned off 32 of its animal residents’ artwork, and raised a whopping $13,000 for their conservation partners.
Snakes, sun bears, lemurs, elephants, chimpanzees, goats, and even a bat produced the work, bids for which began at about $200. Bernie, a 23-year-old male chimpanzee, painted the most expensive work, which sold for $645. Pythagoras and Peru, a pair of squirrel monkeys, collected the most offers on their painting with 43 bids.
The zoo began auctioning off animal artwork last year. Nine different species completed 12 different paintings, which helped raise $10,000. These funds benefit the zoo’s conservation partners, like the Budongo Snare Removal Project, which helps remove traps from a Ugandan forest reserve.
The animals painted the artwork in July and August with the help of zookeepers. Margaret Rousser, a zoological manager at the Oakland Zoo, said that the animals weren’t forced to paint, but zookeepers did offer treats as a means of positive reinforcement for painting.
“A lot of the animals are very smart and love to learn new things,” she said.
Although the paint brush might be the most common way to create art, it’s not the only tool each animal has, according to Rousser.
“Some use paintbrushes and some like to fingerpaint,” Rousser told the USA TODAY Network. “We hold up the canvas and let them choose their colors and paint.”
Considering the fact that 71% of art collectors have now purchased art of some form online, it should come as no surprise that you can find various websites selling animals’ artwork. The Elephant Art Gallery, and the Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project both offer the artwork of elephants for sale online.
So if you missed out on the chance to have a piece of work done by a beast of an artist, and you’ve got a few hundred dollars to spend, you need only look online.
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