Art Print


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This drawing is my tribute to Marius of the Copenhagen Zoo.

Marius was a 18-month-old healthy male giraffe in the Copenhagen Zoo, who was shot with a bolt gun to the head, dissected publicly in front of a crowd which included children, and fed to the lions. Why? Only because his genes were too similar to other giraffes in a breeding program run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Copenhagen Zoo's scientific director, Bengt Holst, said the zoo was working to maintain “a healthy giraffe population in European zoos” and that "this is done by constantly ensuring that only unrelated giraffes breed so that inbreeding is avoided. If an animal’s genes are well represented in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted."

Marius' sad fate received international attention with a petition that amounted over 20,000 signatures and with several other zoos (including the Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP), home to a state of the art giraffe house and a bachelor herd) offering to save his life and take him in. Why the Copenhagen Zoo decided to ignore this, I don't understand. Why they couldn't have even sterilized Marius to prevent their fear of inbreeding, I also don't understand. How they made his death into a public attraction, I definitely don't understand. Why they labelled him "surplus" and showed no care for the fact that he was a living being, not a lifeless object in a stockroom, I don't want to try and understand.

Drawing with a basic 2HB pencil. Number 21 in the "Grey Fauna" series. See them all in detail here:

My intention with this series is to show these fantastical creatures in a serene fashion, drained of all colour. Using only a simple writing pencil to draw them is my way of making a statement against what I feel may be one of the culprits responsible for why so many of these creatures are facing a troubling decline in number on our planet. That culprit being humanity's burning need for acquiring more than they really need, better known as greed. The stress humans have put upon these creatures though pollution, habitat destruction, and in the case of the more exotic creatures, trophy hunting, all stem from humanity's unquenchable thirst and hunger to have what they don't need to have. Humanity's always testing limitations, and while that makes for promising technology, it doesn't serve nature well at all. How does this relate to a basic drawing tool, you ask? The key is in the word "basic". By drawing these animal portraits with a basic tool I'm challenging myself to make use of simple resources while suppressing my hunger to reach for the fabled "more". As a result, the series became more intimate and emotional, and maybe a little sad to reflect my feelings for the animals themselves.

Illustration copyright ©2014 Alexandra Davidoff. All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, editing, displaying/redistribution of this illustration without permission is strictly prohibited.

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