Free Press Journal

US zoo auctioning paintings made by animals


Los Angeles: A zoo in the US is letting animals explore their creative side by auctioning paintings produced by snakes, elephants, lemurs and bats among many others. Thirty-two paintings produced by animals at the Oakland Zoo in California are up for auction. Bids for the paintings started at around USD 200 on eBay.

“While a paintbrush might be the most common instrument to create art, it is not the tool of choice for every animal,” Margaret Rousser, a zoological manager at the Oakland Zoo, said. “Some use paintbrushes and some like to finger-paint,” said Rousser.

“We hold up the canvas and let them choose their colours and paint,” she said. In July and August, zookeepers assisted the animals during painting sessions, ‘USA Today’ reported. “A lot of the animals are very smart and love to learn new things,” Rousser said. The zoo started the auction last year with 12 paintings by nine different species and raised USD 10,000, according to Rousser.

Participating animals include a giraffe, an elephant, a lion, goats, a parrot and even a hissing cockroach among many others. The funds raised from the auction will go to support the zoo’s conservation programmes for animals in the wild. None of the animals were forced or coerced into participating, the zoo officials wrote on their website.

The painting sessions were conducted using only positive-reinforcement methods and the animals were freely allowed to refuse participation at any time during the painting sessions, they said. The auction started on September 10 and will run through September 20.