Friday, April 09, 2010

Javan Rhinoceros ESPP Prints Available

Christopher Reiger
"diminishing returns"
Pen and sumi ink, gouache and watercolor on Arches paper
15 x 12 inches

My 2010 drawing "diminishing returns" has been made into a limited edition print for the Endangered Species Print Project. The drawing features the Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), a species on the very brink of extinction.

From the ESPP website:
"The Javan, or Sunda, Rhinoceros, is one of five extant rhinoceros species. The species was once widespread throughout Asia but is today critically endangered. There are currently between 37 and 44 Javan Rhinos in Ujung Kulon National Park, in West Java Indonesia, and no more than 5 in Cat Tien National Park, in Vietnam. Sadly, with only two known populations in the wild and none in captivity, this rhino species may be the rarest large mammals on our planet."
As per the ESPP model, this is a limited edition of 49 prints, the number determined by the featured animal's current population. The print measures 8 x 10 inches, and costs a mere $50.00. ALL proceeds from sale of the prints will be donated to the International Rhino Foundation.

The drawing was something of a first for me. As I explain for the ESPP artist notes,
"Animals figure prominently in my drawings and paintings. Usually, however, there is plenty of photographic art scrap to use as source material. In the case of the Javan Rhinoceros, this is definitely not the case!

In order to minimize stress for the critically endangered rhino, researchers study the species via fecal sampling and camera traps; the animals are rarely encountered or observed. As a general rule, the Javan Rhino is wary of humans and retreats into dense forests when they sense our presence. When humans do approach, whether intentionally or by mistake, the Javan Rhino becomes aggressive and will often attack, stabbing with the incisors of its lower jaw while thrusting upward with its head. Of course, such wariness and aggression are good survival tactics, but it makes the rhinos extremely difficult to study. (Interestingly, some researchers contend that these behaviors are a recent adaptation to population stresses. Historical records indicate that the species was once more gregarious.)

Because so little photographic documentation is available, this drawing marked the first time I've had to work from both images and written descriptions. It was a very curious process, and I hope that I've done the Javan Rhino justice!"
Visit the ESPP site to learn more.

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