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Karen Conger - Endangered Wildlife Paintings

My endangered wildlife paintings are included in a special category to provide updated information about the protective support that is currently underway by major wildlife conservation partners.

“Never underestimate what a few committed individuals can do for a threatened species.”
Wildlife Conservation Network


My method: A great reference photo and a dot, a line, and a brushstroke ...

Snow Leopard - Silent Guardian

Snow Leopard - Silent Guardian
(Soft Pastel)


The snow leopard is unable to roar but puffing, hissing, growling, screaming, yowling, moaning, and even purring are enough for this elusive and mysterious cat.

The strikingly beautiful but endangered snow leopard remains one of the world’s most mysterious cats. Rarely sighted, it inhabits the high mountains of Central Asia over an expansive twelve-country range.

CITES is the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. CITES bans or strictly limits trade of animals or their body parts. Since 1975, the snow leopard has been listed by CITES in Appendix I, which includes species that are threatened with extinction. This means it is illegal to internationally trade in snow leopards or their body parts.

IUCN classifies the snow leopard as vulnerable.

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the snow leopard can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), Snow Leopard Conservancy, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Amur Leopard - Elusive Power

Amur Leopard – Elusive Power
(Digital Pen)


Stealthy, nimble, solitary. Strong and fearsome.
   Speeds up to 37 mph,
      Leaps 19’ horizontally and 10’ vertically.
         Hunting at night and never giving up the fight.

Pound for pound, the leopard is the strongest climber of all the big cats. Their shoulder blades even have special attachment sites for stronger climbing muscles.

They spend much of their time in trees even when stalking prey and for eating. Both lions and hyenas will take away a leopard’s food if they can. To prevent this, they will often store their kill high up in tree branches where it can feed in relative safety. They are cunning, opportunistic hunters.

AWF and the IUCN “Red List of Threatened Species” list the leopard species as vulnerable with a decreasing population of fewer than 100 individuals. The primary threat to the leopard is human activity.

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the Amur leopard can be found on many official websites including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Arctic Fox – Whiteout

Arctic Fox – Whiteout
(Soft Pastel)


The Arctic fox can survive frigid Arctic temperatures as low as -58 degrees F in the treeless lands where it makes its home. Its furry soles, short ears, and short muzzle also help it adapt to the cold climate. The fox's thick tail aids its balance and is especially useful as warm cover in cold weather. In a blizzard, it may tunnel into the snow to seek shelter.

It has a beautiful white (sometimes blue-gray) coat that acts as very effective winter camouflage, allowing the animal to blend into the tundra's snow and ice. When the seasons change, the coat turns brown or gray offering cover among the summer tundra's rock and plants.

In winter, prey can be very scarce on the ground and arctic foxes will follow the region's premier predator - a polar bear - to eat leftover scraps from its kills. Foxes will also eat vegetables when they are available.

UN.Habitat.org categorizes the Arctic Fox as critically endangered.

IUCRedList.org considers them least concern and needing protection. An action plan has been developed for Arctic Foxes in Sweden (Elmhagen 2008) and status reports have been published for Norway (Ulvund et al. 2013) and Finland (Kaikusalo et al. 2000). In Sweden, Norway and Finland, a conservation project led to significant increases in the population (Angerbjörn et al. 2013).

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the Arctic fox can be found on the official websites of National Geographic, un-habitat.org, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



African Elephant – Morning Call

African Elephant – Morning Call
(Soft Pastel, Colored Pencil)

The African savannah elephant (also called African bush elephant) is the largest animal walking the Earth. Adult males grow up to 13 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 11 tons; adult females weigh half of that. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa.

Their lifespan is up to 70 years - longer than any other mammal except humans. They are surprisingly nimble and can run up to 40 mph which is faster than any human!

Elephants are among the world’s most intelligent, sensitive and social animals, possessing both empathy and family values. They live in close family groups that over the years have been torn apart by an epidemic of poaching across Africa that is fueled by a growing demand for ivory. Tens of thousands of African elephants continue to be killed each year for their tusks.

There are three species of elephants - African savannah (or bush), African forest, and Asian. The Asian elephants have smaller ears than the African elephants.

IUCN classifies the African elephant as vulnerable.

Reference photo for this artwork is from pixabay.com.

Information about African elephants can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), WildAid, Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Elephants for Africa, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Bengal Tiger - White Tiger Blues

Bengal Tiger - White Tiger Blues
(Colored Pencil, Ink)

White tigers are Bengal tigers. They’re not albino or their own separate species, as many people think. A White Bengal tiger cub can only be born when both parents carry the unusual gene for white colouring. The double recessive allele (a viable DNA coding that occupies a given position on a chromosome) in the genetic code only turns up naturally about once in every 10,000 births. For unexplained reasons it seems to occur only in the Bengal subspecies.

Due to the small size of the gene pool, many White Bengal tigers suffer from health problems due to inbreeding. For this reason, responsible zoos refuse to breed two White Bengal tigers together.

Bengal tigers live in India and are sometimes called Indian tigers. They are the most common tiger and number about half of all wild tigers.

Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage (no two have exactly the same stripes).

Females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are 18 months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, when they disperse to find their own territory.

IUCN “Red List of Threatened Species” list the Bengal tiger species as endangered.

Reference photo for this artwork is from pixabay.com.

Information about Bengal tigers can be found on the official websites of National Geographic, WildAid, Wildcat Sanctuary, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Grevy's Zebra Mother and Foal

Grevy's Zebra Mother and Foal
(Digital Pen)

Grevy’s zebra foals are born all legs and ears.

Ears standing to full attention, neck arched, muscles tensed, nearly 1000 lbs of alert zebra ready for action. Watch a Grevy’s zebra adult male presiding over his territory and one begins to understand the majesty of this species. Indeed in 1882, Menelik II, Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), thought the zebra was so regal that he presented one as a gift to the President of France, Jules Grévy. And so the name Grevy’s zebra was coined.

The Grevy’s is quickly distinguishable from its plains and mountain zebra counterparts due to its charming large round ears, and because it is tailor-made for the semi-arid climate where it lives. This zebra can survive for five days without water.

The plains of Africa are filled with zebras, their distinctive coats forming a sea of black and white across the continent’s landscapes. But in dry northern Kenya the unique Grevy’s zebra makes its home, and less than 2,500 of these special animals remain.

IUCN classifies Grevy's zebra as endangered.


Reference photo for this artwork is from WCN/GZT.

Information about Grevy's zebras can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), Grevy's Zebra Trust (GZT), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Giraffa Camelopardalis – Tallest of All

Giraffa Camelopardalis – Tallest of All
(Digital Pen)

The Nubian giraffe, scientific name Giraffa Camelopadalis, is the tallest living animal in the world. It is three-horned, measures up to 19 feet tall, and weighs up to two tons.

The Nubian giraffe population is down 98 percent and lives only on protected lands in Kenya. According to the IUCN, this subspecies is “critically endangered,” which means they face an “extremely high risk” of extinction in the wild.

World Giraffe Day (WGD) is an exciting annual event initiated by Giraffe Consevation Foundation to celebrate the tallest animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year!

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the Nubian giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis) can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Amur Siberian Tiger - Territorial - I'm Watching You

Amur Siberian Tiger – Territorial - I’m Watching You
(Digital Pen)

They roar, rumble, and purr.

The Amur (Siberian) tiger is the biggest tiger of the tiger species and is the only subspecies of tiger that has learned to live in the snow. They have the longest fur of the tigers and they need it.

Adult male tigers are at the top of the food chain. They hunt alone and can run while holding a 100-kilogram (220-pounds) prey in their mouths, reaching speeds up to 50-mph.

In 2010, the 13 tiger range countries committed to TX2—to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. In pursuing TX2, WWF and its partners have taken a comprehensive approach to tiger conservation. Achieving TX2 requires expanding support for site-based programs across priority landscapes and ensuring key populations endure long after the TX2 goal is met.

Global Tiger Day is observed on July 29th to reinforce concern and to inform of the ecological role of the Siberian Tiger.

IUCN classifies the Amur tiger as endangered.

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the Amur Siberian tiger can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



African Lion - Sunday Afternoon

African Lion – Sunday Afternoon
(Soft Pastel)


This was a really good hair day for this young African lion.

Conservation partners in Kenya and Mozambique are playing a large role in teaching lions and people to coexist.

With less than 2,000 lions left in the whole of Kenya, the region serves as an important habitat for the big cats. When lions kill and eat livestock, herders often retaliate with guns, spears or poison. Confined to parks, the lion population dwindled and was on the brink of disappearing in 2007 with only 11 lions found in protected areas. Ewaso Lions is working with communities to reverse this trend, creating one of the few places in Africa where lions exist outside protected areas, allowing community lands to once again serve as an important habitat for big cats. The area population has increased to over 50 lions making permanent residence in community lands.

A growing human population of 60,000 in Niassa that needs food and income poses challenges to the reserve’s 800 lions. With few opportunities for education and employment, many families rely on the use of natural resources—particularly fish, skins, ivory, and bushmeat—to support their subsistence lifestyles. The greatest threat to lions in Niassa comes from snares that are set to capture bushmeat and a growing trade in lion skins, claws, and teeth.

IUCN classifies the African lion as vulnerable. 

Reference photo for this artwork is from pixabay.com.

Information about African lions can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), WildAid, Ewasso Lions, Niassa Lion Project (NLP), Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Pygmy Raccoon - Tiny Carnivore

Pygmy Raccoon - Tiny Carnivore
(Soft Pastel)


These small masked raccoons with the big black eyes are tiny carnivores with adult males weighing less than four kilograms. The IUCN lists this species of raccoon (procyon pygmaeus) as critically endangered, with a declining population of fewer than 200 individuals in 2016.

The pygmy raccoon faces four main challenges to survival:
• They live only on one part of one small island in Central America and thus have only limited habitat
• There is no escape for them from the impacts of habitat loss to human development for the tourism industry and sea level rise due to climate change
• They are susceptible to diseases brought there by invasive species
• They fall prey to non-native predators, from domestic cats to boa constrictors

The pygmy raccoon is officially protected, but there isn't much outside of that label being done to help them, including laws protecting them. 

Ideas for conservation have included preserving the mangrove and semi-evergreen forests in which the pygmy raccoons live, halting development in the area and making it off-limits to any new development. Captive breeding is also a possibility, if there are conservation zoos willing to take on the expense. And of course, removing non-native disease-carrying predators like feral cats would be a huge benefit to the species.

IUCN classifies the Pygmy Raccoon as critically endangered. 

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about Pygmy Raccoons can be found on the official websites of animaldiversity.org; treehugger.com; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



African Lion Cub - Born with Spots

African Lion Cub - Born with Spots
(Soft Pastel)

African lion cubs are born with spots and bright blue eyes. The leopard-like spots eventually disappear as they grow older and their eyes eventually change to a permanent golden hue.

Lionesses in a pride often have cubs around the same time as each other. They look after them in a group, known as a ‘crèche’. This helps to keep them safe from predators – meat-eating animals, such as other lions and tigers – and also large animals such as elephant and buffalo.

They remain hidden for one to two months before being introduced to the rest of the pride.

Are lion cubs dangerous? Yes. They are wild animals.

IUCN classifies the African lion as vulnerable.


Reference photo for this artwork is from pixabay.com.

Information about African lions can be found on the official websites of Life Science; Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) and conservation partners in Kenya and Mozambique; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Polar Bear – Snow Warm

Polar Bear – Snow Warm
(Soft Pastel)

The largest bear in the world and the Arctic's top predator, polar bears are a powerful symbol of the strength and endurance of the Arctic. The polar bear's Latin name, Ursus maritimus, means "sea bear." It's an apt name for this majestic species, which spends much of its life in, around, or on the ocean–predominantly on the sea ice. In the United States, Alaska is home to two polar bear subpopulations.

Considered talented swimmers, polar bears can sustain a pace of six miles per hour by paddling with their front paws and holding their hind legs flat like a rudder. They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellent coat that insulates them from the cold air and water.

Polar bears spend over 50% of their time hunting for food. A polar bear might catch only one or two out of 10 seals it hunts, depending on the time of year and other variables. Their diet mainly consists of ringed and bearded seals because they need large amounts of fat to survive.

Fun Facts:
40kph: The polar bear's top speed
42 razor sharp teeth: With jagged back teeth and canines larger than grizzly teeth, they pack quite the bite
30 cm wide paws: The size of a dinner plate! A natural snowshoe that helps the bear trek across treacherous ice and deep snow
3 eyelids: The third helps protect the bear's eyes from the elements
4 inches of fat: Under the bear's skin to keep it warm
Black skin
Transparent fur
Blue tongue

Are Polar Bears Endangered? The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group lists the polar bear as a vulnerable species, citing sea ice loss from climate change as the single biggest threat to their survival. The most recent study cited on IUCN estimates there are currently about 23,000 polar bears worldwide.

Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.

Information about the polar bear can be found on the websites of World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Polar Bears International, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Cheetah Cub – Your Cheetah Eyes

Cheetah Cub – Your Cheetah Eyes
(Digital Pen)

Cheetah cubs are born with all the spots they’ll ever have, but when they’re tiny those spots are very close together making their fur a darker, ash gray color. Cheetah cubs have a thick silvery-grey mantle down their back that helps camouflage the cubs by imitating the look of an aggressive animal called a honey badger. This mimicry may help deter predators such as lions, hyenas, and eagles from attempting to kill them. Cubs lose their mantle at about three months of age.

Adult cheetahs have undercoats ranging in color from light tan to a deep gold marked by solid black spots. These spots are not open like the rosettes found on a leopard or jaguar’s coat, which is one way to quickly identify the cheetah. Distinctive black tear stripes run from the eyes to the mouth. The stripes are thought to protect the eyes from the sun’s glare. It is believed that they have the same function as a rifle scope, helping cheetahs focus on their prey from a long distance by minimizing the glare of the sun.

Unlike other large cats and pack predators, cheetahs do not do well in wildlife reserves. These areas normally contain high densities of other larger predators like the lion, leopard, and hyena. Predators such as these, compete with cheetahs for prey and will even kill cheetahs given the opportunity. In such areas, the cheetah cub mortality can be as high as 90%. Therefore, roughly 90% of cheetahs in Africa live outside of protected lands on private farmlands and thus often come into conflict with people.

CCF works internationally and maintains a field base in Namibia, the country with the largest population of wild cheetah. Employing a holistic approach that balances the needs of people, wildlife, and land, CCF’s success has inspired a nation that once viewed this species as vermin to proudly claim the title, "Cheetah Capital of the World.”

IUCN classifies the cheetah as vulnerable.

Reference photo for this artwork is from WCN/CCF.

Information about cheetahs can be found on the official websites of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Giant Panda Panache

Giant Panda Panache
(Soft Pastel, Colored Pencil, Ink)


The title could also be "Munch, Munch, Munch."

Wild pandas live only in remote, mountainous regions in central China. They are found in dense bamboo and coniferous forests at altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet.

Driven nearly to extinction by habitat loss and poaching, these individuals are among the rarest in the world, with only an estimated 1,800 remaining in the wild. Low reproductive rates make them more vulnerable to threats and extinction.

Improved conservation efforts and better survey methods show an increase in the wild panda population.

Hundreds more pandas live in breeding centers and zoos, where they are always among the most popular attractions. Much of what we know about pandas comes from studying these zoo animals, because their wild cousins are so rare and elusive.

IUCN lists the giant panda as vulnerable.

Reference photo for this artwork is from pixabay.com.

Information about the giant panda can be found on the official websites of National Geographic, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Artist’s Disclaimer
Endangered wildlife descriptions are from the official websites shown in the details for each image. These external links are provided for your convenience and I do not receive any remuneration or other form of compensation for the endangered species art I produce and highlight on my fine art website. I personally donate to some of these organizations but I am not endorsing any of them and I am not responsible or liable for any information provided by their websites or your use of their websites. Any fees associated with the user's participation in these sites are the sole responsibility of the user. Views or opinions expressed on their sites do not necessarily reflect my opinion and I am not responsible or liable for the content on their sites. Users should take appropriate precautions to minimize risks from viruses, Trojan horses, worms, or other forms of malware. Users should also familiarize themselves with the external websites’ privacy policies and other terms of use, including any collection or use of personally identifiable information. Thank you.

Other Paintings
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Copyright Images and Content 2021. Karen Conger Fine Art. All Rights Reserved.                                                                                           email: Karen@KarenCongerFineArt.com

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