Extinct & Almost Extinct — Book Available

— Dear Blog Followers — For the past 18 months I have been posting pieces from my project, Extinct & Almost Extinct. The project is now complete and the book with all paintings and text is available only at Amazon.com   http://smile.amazon.com/Extinct-Almost-Paintings-Notes/dp/1522793364/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454179424&sr=8-1&keywords=extinct+%26+almost+extinctextinct book - 2016-01-11 at 09-34-58

Extinct & Almost Extinct: Sumatran Orangutan

— This is a painting and text is from my ongoing project Extinct & Almost Extinct: 50 Paintings — extinct - sumatran organutan - 2015-06-10 at 09-45-35

Sumatran Orangutan

critically endangered

The Sumatran orangutans are found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Most of the surviving 7,000 orangutans are found in the north of the island and most of them in the remarkable Leuser Ecosystem. This ecosystem is the home to a large number of threatened Asian rainforest species but is gradually being diminished by agricultural development.

Orangutans are the only great ape of Asia. Their diet consists primarily of fruits, but also leaves, termites and ants. Females, weighing around 100 pounds, rarely if ever leave the trees. Males, weighing up to 200 pounds, occasionally leave the trees but spend most of the time where their food and safety is — in the trees. Their evolution in the trees has led to them have “four hands” rather than two hands and two feet. The length of their lives can range from 40 to 58 years. Females give birth first at the age of 15 and have offspring every eight or nine years producing about four babies in their lifetimes. Males are solitary unless breeding.

The Malayan name “orangutan” means “person of the forest.” This is apt as they share 96.7% of our DNA. Their intelligence is on par with all the great apes. They can learn sign language, they can control computer touch screens, they are skilled tool makers and fine escape artists. But their true intelligence is in natural harmony with their environment.

The capture of orangutans for the pet trade continues continues despite its illegality, but the elimination of their habitat through logging and establishment of vast palm oil plantations is driving the Sumatran orangutan closer and closer to extinction.

Extinct & Almost Extinct: Carolina Parakeet

Below is the painting and text of one of the creatures from my ongoing project Extinct & Almost Extinct —Carolina Parakeet, 12" X 12" acrylic on paper, 2014, Mark W. McGinnis

Carolina Parakeet
extinct 1939 —

This beautiful bird was the only species of parrot native to the eastern part of North America. It was about 13 inches in length. Its range, for such a tropical looking bird, was expansive, running from New England to the Gulf Coast and from the Atlantic to eastern Colorado. It lived mostly in forests and wooded river bottoms. Experts estimate hundreds of thousands to millions of the Carolina Parakeets were living in flocks of 200 to 300 birds when America was first colonized. Their main food source was tree seeds, but they also munched on thistles and cockleburs.

In the early 19th century, women’s hats decorated with brightly-colored feathers became fashionable and the Carolina Parakeet was hunted extensively for their beautiful green and yellow feathers. At the same time, their population began a steep decline with the deforestation of the eastern United States. With the removal of wilderness forests, the birds began feeding in fruit orchards, corn fields and on other grain crops. Farmers saw them as pests and called for their wholesale slaughter. By 1860, the range for the Carolina Parakeet was reduced to the swampy lands of Florida and Georgia. After 1904, the birds were no longer seen in the wild. In addition to the population reductions by the continued hunting, there has been some speculation that the remaining healthy flocks were wiped out by a poultry disease caught from contact with domesticated fowl.

The last Carolina Parakeet died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918 and the species was declared extinct in 1939.

Carolina Parakeet, 12″ X 12″ acrylic on paper, 2014, Mark W. McGinnis