Saskatoon artist launches paper animal conservancy project

Cate Francis' new project features paper animals designed by artists and spread throughout Saskatoon. People are invited to help "conserve" the animals by photographing them with their smartphones.

Cate Francis invites residents to search out and photograph paper animals

Cate Francis is the creator of the Paper Wildlife Conservancy. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

Cate Francis has been busy "breeding" dozens of coyotes, black-billed magpies, white-tailed jack rabbits and even northern leopard frogs and now she will start releasing them into the wild.

It's all part of the Saskatoon artist's paper wildlife conservancy project, which is funded through the City of Saskatoon's placemaker program.

"I'm installing screen-printed animals that I've designed and printed and there's going to be about 150 to 200 of them in pre-negotiated locations around Saskatoon," explained Francis on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

Francis will begin posting paper critters this Friday as part of the Street Meet art festival happening in Riversdale and plans on spreading them through the city through the rest of July.

Once the paper animals are in situated in pre-arranged locations, many of them courtesy of agreeable business owners, Francis plans to monitor them in their "habitats" in her capacity as "chief conservation officer."

"Basically, anyway you would treat a wild animal that's being managed in a regular population, it's a mirror of that, it's a simulated conservation."

Francis' project to install screen-printed paper animals in part of the City of Saskatoon's Placemaker Program. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

Seeking wall space

Francis is still looking for businesses who want to donate same wall space.

She also wants help keeping an eye on the animals once they're in place, inviting people to snap photos and post them using the hashtag #paperanimal.

They'll eventually be compiled on the project's website.
Francis has over 150 paper animals she plans to place around the city. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

While she hopes people see the humour in the project and have fun seeking out the animals, Francis also said she wants to provoke some thought about their real life counterparts.

"They're often hiding, you don't see them. So I kind of want people to stop and think about how there's a lot going on that's outside of us, outside of the human element of the urban environment."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning