Category Archives: animal kingdom

Can Elephant Art Save the Species?

Art has been known to increase the quality of a human’s life, but, in some cases, art is saving the lives of animals.

Have you ever heard of elephant art?

This type of art ranges from a photograph taken of an elephant to a picture painted by the intelligent mammal. However, let it be known that elephant art never involves their ivory tusks. Throughout the world elephants are being poached because of their tusks. This is causing the population of African and Asian elephants to dwindle. Much of the time, ivory is used to create works of art. To encourage the growth of elephant populations many countries have banned the importation and sale of ivory.

Other than poaching, elephants are a threatened species because their habitats are shrinking. Because of their large size, elephants need a lot of food, water and land to roam. The development of elephant habitats is cutting in on their space and limiting the basic necessities they need for survival.

What would the world be like without elephants? Many of us cannot imagine this reality and several artists are dedicated to avoiding this threat through creative activism.

Elephant Parade

Mike Spits’s father was in Chiang Mai when he met an elephant that lost her leg to a landmine. The hospital treating the elephant wanted to give her a prosthetic leg someday but such a surgery would be very expensive. Touched by the need, Mike Spits’s father wanted to help but he didn’t want to write a onetime check. He wanted to create a sustainable fund that could help elephants for years to come. From this desire, Elephant Parade was born. Now, Mike Spits operates the social enterprise on funds brought in through painted elephant statues.

Artists Against Ivory

Operating on the vision of “helping elephants live forever,” Artists Against Ivory creates wearable art including t-shits and jewelry, as well as wall art. Through elephant inspired art, this enterprise raises money and empowers the cause of elephants throughout the world.

Mae Taeng Elephant Camp

Elephant habitats in Thailand were being encroached upon when the Chailert family created a camp to protect the species. Later, they opened a clinic to rehabilitate injured animals. They support the park and clinic by opening their doors to visitors who want to get up close and personal with the gentle giants. More so, they sell artwork created by the elephants. At Mae Taeng, elephants begin painting at the age of three.

Will art save the elephants? We can only hope this genre of art is raising awareness of the threat they face. Embrace the art that comes from elephants and share the art elephants create.

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Segmation is the art of pieceful imaging.  Our Elephant pattern set includes many photographs of elephants in their nature settings standing in grassy fields, dirt roads, and reflecting in water ponds. Click on the banner above to see all 20 patterns.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Coral Reefs: Rainforests of the Sea

Baby Art Creates Dreamy Photographs

Cold Case Paintings: When Mystery and Art Collide

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The Animal Kingdom Uses Color to Survive

Humans have it easy compared to other species in the animal kingdom. We reign at the top of the food chain and do not fear becoming another animal’s lunch. However, survival is a real concern for other mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish.

Nevertheless, today the animal kingdom is alive and well because different species have developed non-aggressive defense techniques. For instance, throughout the process of evolution, several animals have changed colors to better blend into their surroundings. Beyond protection, animals also use color to attract mates, and, in effect, prolong the existence of their species.

When we think of color-changing animals, chameleons quickly come to mind, but do you know that flamingos, robins, and snakes are said to have developed their colors somewhat deliberately, too?

For instance, baby flamingos are gray while adults are pink because the flamingo diet includes foods filled with carotenoids, which contain natural color pigments. Some of these foods include shrimp, crabs and algae.

Humans can realize this color changing sensation to some degree. Have you heard of a person’s skin or eyes turning orange after eating a lot of carrots? “Carotenoids,” advises an NPR article “are abundant in plants, where they play a role in photosynthesis. Different carotenoids make carrots orange and beets red….”

Diets rich with carotenoids shine a new light on the familiar phrase you are what you eat. However, the same article points out that “Animals… have a lot of… color limitations.” An Ornithologist from Yale, Rick Prum, points out that birds with mostly brown and gray coloring can develop yellow and red tints if they eat certain foods but they will not have the same luck if they want to turn blue or green.  In fact, Prum says, “Blue is fascinating because the vast majority of animals are incapable of making it with pigments.” Nevertheless, several species appear blue.

Since pigment-rich diets rarely produce this color, how can animals like beetles and butterflies appear blue?

The answer is simple: several blue animals employ optical illusions. A biologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Dan Babbitt, uses morpho butterflies to explain this phenomenon.

The butterflies have a 6-inch wingspan — one side a dull brown and the other a vibrant, reflective blue. The butterflies have tiny transparent structures on the surface of their wings that bounce light in just the right way to make them appear a vibrant blue that’s so bright it almost hurts your eyes. But if you grind up the wings, the dust — robbed of its reflective prism structures — would just look gray or brown.

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Many animals have centuries of diet and optical illusions to thank for their survival. By eating high carotenoid diets or employing strategies of design, animals have developed colors that allow them to protect themselves from attackers, as well as attract mates.

Even though humans have it easy, sitting at the top of the food chain, it doesn’t mean we know it all. In fact, we learn a lot from observing animals who know how to survive and thrive and adjust to their surroundings.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Coral Reefs: Rainforests of the Sea

Communicating with Color in the Animal Kingdom

An Art Project For Human Kind

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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Communicating with Color in the Animal Kingdom

Do you use colorful language? Not in the sense of 4-letter words. Rather, do you use colors to express yourself in conversation? For instance, depending on your situation you might say:

  • “I feel blue.”
  • “You look green with envy.”
  • “They call me mellow yellow.”
  • “I’m red hot with desire.”
  • “That is just peachy.”

Colors can be good descriptors for human emotion. But another species in the animal kingdom takes colorful expression to the next level. Chameleons are known for their camouflage traits. The lizard descendent changes color to match its environment. Not only is this a form of protection, it is also a form of communication.

Chameleons Communicate with Color

The Royal Society journal recently published a paper about the complexity behind chameleon communication. In their research, Dr. Russell Ligon and Dr. Kevin McGraw found that a male chameleon’s brightness of color and speed at which it changes, in addition to where the color is located on the body, may predict how aggressive the chameleon would be in competition with another male.

Brightness of the Color

In their study it was reported that the male who developed the brightest stripes and spots would often approach the other chameleon. Similarly, the chameleon with the brighter head was more likely to win the fight.

Speed of Change

Another important indicator of who would dominate in a duel was the speed at which the colors changed. The chameleon that transformed fastest was positioned well.

Body Position

In an article with Scinews.com, the researchers say they “found that the stripes, which are most apparent when chameleons display their bodies laterally to their opponents, predict the likelihood that a chameleon will follow up with an actual approach.” The researchers go onto suggest the chameleon whose colors are not as bright and prominent may back down before any aggression has been exerted. Dr. Ligon explains why: “By using bright color signals and drastically changing their physical appearance, the chameleons’ bodies become almost like a billboard – the winner of a fight is often decided before they actually make physical contact.”

These findings tell us a lot about a chameleon’s character. Does it speak to human nature as well? On another level of the animal kingdom, humans are billboards too. Our outward appearances and expressions represent our values, our families, our communities, and our places of business. More than the clothes we wear, the colorful expressions we choose to show are telling of how we feel. But unlike chameleon’s, we can’t use these colors to hide. Which color are you today?

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Animals:

Sea Urchins have left the Beach to Inspire Art

Birds of a Feather Art Fun Craft by www.segmation.com!

Do you love Cats?

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