When Animal Enrichment Activities Create Art
Artistic Animals is Wildlife Rescue’s annual event in which you can enjoy the artistic results of animals having playtime or enrichment activities at Wildlife Rescue’s sanctuary. The idea came about 12 years ago when we noticed that wild animals, particularly primates, were drawn to enrichment items that were brighter in color. It was then that we decided to provide the animals with items that let them choose what they would create.
When provided with a blank canvas and blobs of non-toxic paint, some animals reject it and others engage in playtime activity create colorful art.
The art makes a great gift that everyone would be proud to display in their home or office.
This year’s gallery showing includes the works of art listed below still available for purchase.
Sponsor a Bear in Sanctuary
Over the many years that WRR has been in existence we have rescued several black bears. The eldest male bear now living at WRR was exploited as a “mascot” at Baylor University before being sent to live in peace at our sanctuary. One female, now in her mid-twenties, was rescued from the horrors of a roadside zoo; another elderly female came to us after being found, along with several other animals, locked in a darkened barn in shipping crates—where they had existed for over 9 years. The most recent rescued bear is a 10 year old male who was locked in dog runs with 6 other bears.
All these bears taken in by WRR now reside in a spacious, outdoor enclosure with trees, two above ground cement pools with a constant supply of fresh water for drinking and soaking in, and plenty of fresh fruits, berries and vegetables to eat. The bears now have the freedom to enjoy a healthy and peaceful existence in the WRR sanctuary, truly a second chance at life.
In the wild, American Black Bears live solitary lives except during mating periods and when mothers are tending cubs. Adult males can weigh 500 pounds and females up to 300. They are excellent climbers and fast as well, reaching speeds of 30 mph. They are considered omnivores but rarely eat other animals. Although American Black Bears are not true hibernators, they will sleep for several months during winter (depending on the climate) without intake of water or food or any excretions.
Sponsor a Monkey in Sanctuary
Primates who live at the Wildlife Rescue sanctuary have been rescued from one of three situations: they have been held and used in laboratories; kept in sub-standard conditions in roadside zoos; or inappropriately and often inhumanely kept as so-called “pets.”
Once they arrive at WRR they are given time to acclimate to their new surroundings before being introduced to their new companions and new home. Many of the primate enclosures are one to two acres in size, others are smaller but all have trees, native grasses, rocks, and bushes that are part of the natural terrain. These enclosures also have above-ground cement pools. All of the enclosures have fully heated buildings that the monkeys can access at-will during the winter months. In the spring and summer they often like to use them as private quarters to spend some time indoors.
All the primates at WRR are given a daily diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. They are also offered monkey chow biscuits and peanut butter sandwiches. Because of the size and natural settings in which they live, the monkeys always have access to roots, leaves, sprouts, insects, and other elements of interest.
Spider monkeys (pictured here), capuchins and marmosets, are native to Central and South America and Mexico and are considered New World while the other primates at WRR are Old World monkey who are found in Africa and Asia. Many of the primates are from one to two feet tall and all are incredibly agile, strong and graceful and love to spend time in the treetops. The primates who live at WRR spend their days in the company of like or similar species, eating, climbing, swimming and sleeping. Like all wild animals at WRR they are never named nor do we attempt to interact with them or tame them. They are allowed to live a life that is as close to what they would have in the wild as we can provide.
Sponsor a Cougar in Sanctuary
The cougars, also known as mountain lion, cat-a-mount or panther, like many of the other wild animals at WRR, were victimized by the wildlife “pet” trade. They were declawed in an attempt to make them safe to be sold and they were confined in small cages or runs and even abandoned in boarded up houses. These magnificent cats can never again go free but at WRR they do live in a wooded 4.5-acre enclosure that includes a rocky bluff that is perfect for climbing, hiding, and basking in the sun.
Historically, cougars ranged throughout the Western Hemisphere from northern British Columbia to Patagonia and from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts. Habitat loss and hunting have limited them now primarily to the western U.S. Males can be 8 feet in length and weigh 150 pounds; females are usually smaller and are around 7 feet in length and 90-100 pounds. Despite claims that they are a major menace to livestock, the fact is the cougar prefers to eat deer and small mammals. They will often live into their early 20’s in captivity. The cougar receives no legal protection in the state of Texas.
Cougars are solitary animals in the wild but at WRR the cougars enjoy the company of each other. In the wild the cubs remain with their mothers until they are over a year old; during this time she teaches them all the skills they must have in order to hunt and survive on their own. Cougars climb trees easily but spend most of their time on the ground. They are extremely elusive animals, and even hikers who have covered hundreds of miles in their territories rarely see them.
Sponsor a Macaw in Sanctuary
The two macaws who reside at WRR both came from the wild animal “pet” trade. Though parrots and other wild birds have been kept as “pets” for generations, here at WRR we still see them as wild animals in need of interesting space where they can fly and live with other birds.
Macaws are native to tropical Central and South America, are members of the Parrot family, and include sixteen species within three genera. The largest have up to a four-foot wingspan and the smallest about fifteen inches and all are brightly colored. Males and females are identical and can’t be visually differentiated by humans, although they manage for themselves quite well. They are considered smarter than dogs, but make far less desirable “pets.” When forced into captivity with little or no contact with their own kind, their naturally boisterous habits and constant need for stimulus and interaction with other birds translates into an unhappy captive. A caged existence is certainly not one they would ever choose.
Their preferred diet consists of seeds, fruits, and other plant materials. They can live up to seventy years. Sadly, however, because of the pet trade, habitat destruction, and killing for their feathers, many species are endangered.
Sponsor a Native Bird in Sanctuary
WRR rescues around 3,000 native birds every year. Some of these are fledglings who should have been left alone to be cared for by their parents, but who were found on the ground, doing their best to follow their parents as they became strong enough to fly. It is sadly common for caring people to believe they are rescuing fledglings when in fact they are usually stealing them from caring parents.
Other young birds treated by WRR have fallen from nests or their parents have been killed. All young birds require warmth and species- and age-appropriate feedings until they are old enough to fend for themselves. For many of the birds WRR rescues this means feeding of a special diet every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day, every day. Your sponsorship provides food, bedding, medication, veterinary care, supplies, and plenty of attention from our Animal Caretakers.