Entertainment

Oakland Zoo auctions paintings by its animals

Elephants, giraffes, lemurs, and even a cockroach at the Oakland Zoo have been exploring their creative sides to produce colourful paintings that will be auctioned for charity.

'It was fun for them because they got treats for participating'

Jennifer, a ring-tailed lemur, stands on a painting she created in July as part of a charity fundraiser. Elephants, giraffes, goats, lemurs and even a cockroach at the Oakland Zoo produced abstract paintings in bright colours that will be auctioned online starting Thursday. (Erin Dogan Harrison/The Oakland Zoo/Associated Press)

Elephants, giraffes, lemurs, and even a cockroach at the Oakland Zoo have been exploring their creative sides to produce colourful paintings that will be auctioned for charity.

The painting sessions were conducted by zoo keepers who used only positive-reinforcement, including plenty of treats, as they worked with the animals, zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said.

Elephants were helped to hold paintbrushes in their trunks and giraffes in their mouths and produced their artwork one stroke at a time. Goats, lemurs, and meerkats had their hooves, paws or claws dabbed with nontoxic, water-based paint and ran over a blank sheet of poster board while chasing a treat.

Maggie, a Nigerian dwarf goat, had her hooves dipped in blue, green and yellow paint and a zookeeper coaxed her with snacks to walk on a canvass. (Erin Dogan Harrison/The Oakland Zoo/Associated Press)

Thirty-two of the works will be auctioned on eBay starting Thursday.

Andy, a Madagascar hissing cockroach, scurried around a canvass and the result was a piece in purple, green and yellow tones.

Maggie, a Nigerian dwarf goat, had her hooves dipped in blue, green and yellow paint and the keeper coaxed her with snacks to walk on a canvass.

"It was fun for them because they got treats for participating," Mora said.

None of the animals was forced to take part, she said.

Last year, Oakland Zoo auctioned off 12 paintings and raised nearly $10,000 US.

The bidding this year will end Sept. 20 and the funds raised will benefit Oakland Zoo's conservation partners, who are working in the field to save wild animals, Mora said.

Some of the paintings will be exhibited starting Thursday and through September 20 at The Blueprint, a tea lounge, in Oakland.

Some of the artworks will be displayed in Oakland, while more than two dozen will be auctioned online. (Steve Goodall/The Oakland Zoo/Associated Press)

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.