Monday, October 22, 2007

The Calm before the Storm? Mufabure ~ Killed without Reason

Although the situation around the park has calmed somewhat, one has to wonder whether L. Nkunda is just waiting to gather forces as he has done in the past. The rebels are now very near Rumangabo, the main ranger station and may take it soon. Many of the rangers have evacuated and some are still trying to move valuable equipment so it it will not be looted or destroyed as has happened at the other stations. Meanwhile, the London Zoological Society and WildlifeDirect are paying the rangers' salaries and providing them and their families with rations. They all need our support. No one knows how the gorillas are fairing at this point. It is too dangerous for the rangers to check.
In other news, two of Mufabure's murders go on trial this week. They are being held in Goma.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The War Still Rages~ Mufabure-"Killed without Reason"

Close-up detail of "Mufabure-Killied without Reason"
(c) Robin J. Andreae 2007
It is now one week since I posted this painting and the war in the gorilla sector of Virunga Park still rages on. As promised, I will continue posting Mufabure's portrait until the rangers are allowed to go back into the park to protect and care for the gorillas.
In a recent Oxfam report the cost of the wars in Africa from 1990 on could have topped $300 billion dollars. That's approximately $18 billion dollars a year. These figures do not consider the uncalcuable damage to the environment and the wildlife. Animals are often caught in the crossfire. The park rangers are no longer able to do their jobs and poachers once again have free-reign of protected areas. Those figures also do not include the loss of income from the eco-tourism industry that could proliferate. In Rwanda and Uganda, tourists regularly pay $500.00 per person per day for a chance to view Mountain Gorillas. Even when war rages in the neighboring country, tourists leave.
The most commmon weapon, the AK-47, used in the wars that rage in Africa does not originate from there. The Oxfam report suggests this to help stem the flow of arms into Africa:
"Africa, as elsewhere, needs new international standards on arms transfers – a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Such a treaty would not prevent the responsible transfer of weapons for defence, policing, peacekeeping, and other legitimate purposes, but it must prohibit arms transfers if they are likely to be used to:
- Commit serious violations of international humanitarian law;
- Commit serious violations of international human rights law;
- Undermine sustainable development.
Although the causes of armed violence are many and highly complex, and require a variety of actions to be taken, we believe that an ATT based on these principles would be one important tool in reducing armed violence in Africa. "
Please write your congresspeople, senators and presidential canidates. Please help spread the word.
Here are a couple of suggested letters from Christine C. , a regular poster on the gorilla protection blog. Please feel free to use them:
I am not sure how much coverage XXX has previously devoted to the plight of the mountain gorillas in the DR Congo’s Virunga National Park, however, even if there has been some, it is a story that bears much repeating.
Although I am sure you are no strangers to the problems in the DR Congo, you may be less familiar with its national treasure, Virunga National Park. Currently, there are a number of rangers (paid for by charitable donations through an organization called Wildlife Direct)that protect the mountain gorilla sectors — however, they have not been able to do their jobs because both rebels (General Nkunda) and the Congolese army have taken over those sectors. At this time we know they (army and rebels) are destroying the current ranger stations, ripping out their crops and have taken their supplies (weapons, radios, cell phones, etc…). We also know that they will not let the rangers in to check on the safety and welfare of the habituated gorilla families. Given that, over the past decade, 150 rangers have literally sacrificed their lives for the care of the park and its inhabitants; the ongoing strife in this corner of the world; and the very significant humanitarian issues involved here, I hope that much more attention will be brought to these issues in the near future.
Thank you for considering this story. More information about this situation can be found at

Issues surrounding the instability and violence in the DR Congo seem to be non-existent in all of the current presidential campaigns. If elected, would XXX encourage the US to take a greater role in securing peace in that nation? It is clear that DR Congo represents a variety of important interests, everything from stopping genocide and encouraging true democracy, to protecting the environment, halting the extinction of a variety of animals (including mountain gorillas) and securing the safety of the people indigenous to that region. The US has been too quiet for too long about the human and environmental problems in Africa and the surrounding areas — it is time to take a stand and show the world what it really means to be a global leader.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Please Help by Writing your Congressperson or Senator

There is now intense fighting in the Gorilla Sector of Virunga Park. Director Norbert Mushenzi has asked for our help by lobbying our government. I have prepared a template for a letter that you could send.

Here is the web address. You will need Word to open it and put in your information and anything else that you would like to add.

Click here to find your Senators' addresses

Click here to find your Congresspeople's addresses

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mufabure - Killed without Reason

"Mufabure-Killed without Reason”
10” x 10” x .75"
Acrylics on Stretched Canvas
This painting is a tribute to Mufabure. Her name in Swahili means killed without reason. She was named after her badly decomposed body was found by the rangers of Virunga Park. The rangers had arrested two men who were reported trying to sell two baby gorillas for $8,000.00 a piece. She was an infant, probably 3 to 4 years old. Her face was so badly decomposed that I had to paint this portrait from a composite of photos of young mountain gorillas and by looking at her bone structure.

It is unknown whether she was from one of the habituated families or if she was from a wild family. The rangers have not been able to go into the park to check. There is now fighting between the Rwandan rebels and the Congolese army. The only thing the rangers can do is wait. Meanwhile the poachers have free reign of the park. Just yesterday, 7 of the rangers who were able to track two of the families had to flee for their lives across the Ugandan border. There are now no rangers in the gorilla sector.
Director Norbert Mushenzi asked today in the Gorilla Protection blog for everyone to lobby their government to help end this horrible situation. I will be posting more on how you can do this tomorrow.

Just this year 10 mountain gorillas have been murdered. That's 10 out of a meager 700 mountain gorillas left worldwide. I will be posting this picture on this blog once a week until the rangers are allowed into the park to protect these majestic giants of the forests.

The artwork is acrylics on stretched canvas (staples on the sides). It measures 10" x 10" x .75". It is signed and dated on the back . The painting comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Please feel free to email me with any questions that you may have. All artwork is copyright protected and may not be copied or reproduced in any way. © R.J.Andreae 2007.
75% of the proceeds from tis painting will benefit WildlifeDirect
This sale does not include the frame.
Please put this auction on your watch list so we can create a buzz and gain more attention about this crisis.
Thank You!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dear Supporters,

You could give WildlifeDirect up to 26% or more of each everyday purchase you make at no extra cost to you.
That’s exactly what happens when you join the online community called

It does not cost a cent to join and once you are a member, every time you shop the Mall at we can get a percentage of each purchase you make.
Free money for WildlifeDirect, your choice of over 600 known online merchants, your privacy guaranteed, plus money-saving deals and specials every day.

Just click on the following link to join now:

Thank you!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Flamingo Illustration on Ostrich Egg - Now on ArtByUs

I've just listed this unique item on Art By Us. It's a real ostrich egg on which I've drawn a graceful flamingo in pen & ink. I'll donate 50% of the final sale price to Wildlife Direct.

Flamingo drawn in pen & ink on an ostrich egg, by Ann Ranlett
Click on the image to view the auction.

I've been drawing critters on ostrich eggs for many, many years. It all started when I worked at the Sacramento Zoo. Although it's been a long time since I worked there, I'm fortunate to continue to receive at least 10 egg commissions from the Zoo each year. They give the eggs to special donors and as prizes for events (such as their annual Zoo Zoom run).

I rarely have any illustrated eggs available for sale, since most of them are created for the Zoo or are commissioned by individuals. Now's your chance to own a really special and unique piece of art, and help the gorillas at the same time!

-Ann Ranlett (drawdog5)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Freedom" by R. J. Andreae

"Freedom" by Robin J. Andreae (c) 2006
10" x 10" x 1.75"
Acrylics on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

$125.00 shipping included

75% Donation to WildlifeDirect Gorilla Protection

Please email the artist to purchase this painting.

This is a painting of a red tail hawk that I used to care for. Davis was 29 years old when she passed away. She had been in captivity for nearly her whole life. She was stolen from her nest as a hatchling and fed on a diet of hot dogs and hamburgers. Consequently, she developed ricketts and was unable to fend for herself in the wild. Fish and Game conficscated her from the man who had stolen her from the nest and gave her to the bird rescue where I volunteered. She was kept as a resident raptor as an eductional bird. She was a wonderful ambassador for her kind. The one thing in all those years that she longed for was freedom. I can't help but think of her when I see a red tail hawk soaring high in the clouds.

~ Robin J. Andreae.

Thank You!

$2180.07 !

That's what we raised for WildlifeDirect Gorilla Protection thanks to all of you!

Inside cover for our upcoming book

Sorry for the late posting about our totals. But I've been busy revamping our website for future sales for WildlifeDirect, writing our art book (100% of the profits to WildlifeDirect), and setting up links to yet other venues you may purchase our art from. One of the venues will be this very blog. We wil have our work posted here for sale and you may purchase directly from the Aritst. The other venue is Art by Us. They take no fees from the artist. We'll be able to donate even more! Also you may have noticed that we have subsription box on the side bar of this blog. It's like the RSS feed you may already subscribe to. The main difference is that each new post will be sent directly to your email.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Senator Brownback Floor Statement on Eastern Congo 09.12.07

Mr. BROWNBACK. Madam President, I rise to speak on a situation now developing to which I hope my colleagues will pay some attention. If we get involved at an early phase, it may be something we can head off rather than have it develop full scale. And I will have some pictures. I am talking about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo .

We have seen a situation there where thousands of people have been dying on a monthly basis. It had been stabilizing some with the U.N. policing force that was in the area, the largest in the world. Now it is escalating again. It had stabilized. It is something we have to get after right now and, if we can, it might be such that we can stop it from spreading. But we have to pay some attention to it and look at it now.

Not even 12 months after their first free elections in 40 years, the fragile stability of the entire country is at stake. Senator Durbin and I visited there about a year and a half ago. It was starting to achieve some stability. They hadn’t voted yet for the election. Now we are seeing the present situation in eastern Congo , specifically in an area called North Kivu, gravely deteriorating. According to the U.N. relief agencies, we have seen nearly 40,000 people displaced this month. We saw another 100,000 displaced in June, in addition to the 100,000 displaced in January, all from this year. So nearly a quarter million people have been displaced in this one region.

These displacements come from rising tensions between the renegade General Nkunda and those loyal to the Congolese Government. Nkunda says he is protecting the Tutsi-Congolese minority from the Congolese Government and from the Hutu militias. These are militias that fled Rwanda after committing genocide there in 1994. So this has a connection to Rwanda. That is what is so deadly about it. We have seen it activated before, and it is deadly.
Neither General Nkunda nor the Hutu militias have ever been disarmed, raging havoc on the civilian population for years. The fighting between Nkunda’s rebels and Congolese forces has spilled into the Virunga Mountains where the mountain gorillas reside, the sole place where this endangered species lives, a species so close to extinction already, yet nine were killed this year in fighting.

President Kagame of Rwanda said Monday that Nkunda has legitimate political grievances against the Congolese Government. We have to call him on that. President Kagame stated Nkunda was simply protecting a section of the Congolese from extermination, but there are no reported actions against the Tutsi-Congolese.
This can be kind of convoluted on names, but this is how it started the first time around, a rebel general saying: I am protecting the people in the minority. Then they started attacking the people. People fled into refugee camps, and more died. When you flee for your life in these areas of the Congo , there is not always another town or village to go into. One area where there was fighting over the weekend took place in a settlement village–a refugee camp from a conflict 10 years earlier. It burned the village simply because the people could not return to their previous homes. Now, due to fighting, they are homeless and fleeing once again.
I want to show a few pictures because it always seems we talk about numbers when we talk about distant places. People say: Well, I am sure that goes on all the time. It doesn’t. It doesn’t need to go on at all. It helps people to see that there are real people who suffer.
Here is a picture of a mother who brought her child into a therapeutic feeding camp because the child was dying of starvation due to constant movement of the family from village to village. The child became sick when they had no other place to go but the jungle to seek refuge. That happens when there is no stabilized place; children die in particular. Others do too.
Here is a 2-year-old who caught malaria due to the family hiding for so long in the bush after having fled their home. Malnourishment was quick to follow, as the family could find no food in the bush. So we have a 2-year-old with malaria, malnourished, on the verge of death.
This room is where about 75 to 90 women and children stay when they are receiving medical treatment and food supplements from a village clinic in the village of Kitchanga in North Kivu Province of Congo . This shows the crowded conditions into which people are forced.
Here is a 3-year-old who was diagnosed with malaria, tuberculosis, and malnourishment from hiding in the jungle with his family. Every breath he took was preceded by a raspy cough due to the stage of tuberculosis. His mother wanted to get him to a health clinic earlier but had to hide the family in the bush for several weeks because the road into town had been blocked by a militia.

These are real people suffering, dying because of this situation.
This is a 3-year-old diagnosed with malaria. They began treatment for the malaria, and his body rejected the treatment. They found that while he had been eating about once a day, he was anemic due to lack of nutrition in the food his family had been able to find in the jungle as they hid from militia groups that had burned their village and home to the ground. His body began to shut down. He rejected the oral and IV treatments. This 3-year-old passed away within 6 hours of rejecting the IV treatments, 15 minutes after this photo was taken.
These are real lives and real people. I have shown a few of them from this raging war that goes on while we have a blind eye to it.

Sexual violence and rape is also on the rise in Congo . The Washington Post reported the intensity and frequency of the rape is worse in the DRC than anywhere else in the world. The U.N. emergency relief agencies report that 4,500 cases of sexual violence have been reported since January of 2007 in this one province alone. We are looking at, in less than 9 months, 4,500 cases of sexual violence in one province. Women are brutally raped in front of crowds, families, husbands, resulting in serious physical and emotional trauma. I visited a hospital with Senator Durbin in the eastern city of Goma where women could be treated for ailments due to brutal rapes. Because of their condition, many women are outcasts from their community and families, and the pain goes on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Work In Progress, Auction in Progress!

I completed my artwork--"Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters"--in time to send it out to auction on the 8th, like a ship at sea. Here's hoping it finds the right home, and benefits the gorillas and rangers in the process!

"Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters"

Since the fairy tale comes from Zimbabwe, I was inspired by the art of that country. Stone sculpture has always been a main art form there, so for the background designs of my piece, I took my cues from ancient stone carvings. One type of stone used in Zimbabwe’s sculpture is “serpentine”! I thought that was an amazing metaphor for the king in the tale. With that thought in mind, I tried to mimic the colors of serpentine stone with my paints. It’s a bit easier to see the shades of colors in person, but it still translates decently.

Our auction to benefit the rangers and mountain gorillas of the Congo is going strong! We have 107 listings already! Seven days to go--it’s very exciting, and I welcome everyone to stop by and take a tour of inspiring artwork!

Christine Taylor (eBay ID: mousewords)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mburanumwe - one last look

6” x 4” x .75"
Acrylics on Stretched Canvas
© R.J.Andreae 2007
Beginning bid $19.95
50% to Wildlife Direct
Please click here to view & bid on other works of art to help endangered mountain gorillas.
This small painting is a tribute Mburanumwe. Her charred body was found by the rangers of the DR Congo on July 23. She was soon to give birth when she was slain. It affected the rangers profoundly when they found her along 3 other members of her family, all shot execution style. When I learned of her death via Paulin Ngobobo's blog, Gorilla Protection. I couldn't stop from crying. I never new her or have ever seen a mountain gorilla. But I did know that I wanted to help these brave rangers protect the less than 700 mountain gorillas left in the world.

So I painted her portrait to raise awareness about the plight of this critically endangered species and funds for the rangers who risk their lives daily to protect them. In the painting, she is looking over her shoulder as if to give one last look. I hope that it will not be the last look for the mountain gorillas.

The artwork is acrylics on stretched canvas (staples on the sides). It measures 6" x 4" x .75". It is signed and dated on the back . It is sold unframed. The painting comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Please feel free to email me with any questions that you may have. All artwork is copyright protected and may not be copied or reproduced in any way. © R.J.Andreae 2007.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Our Auction Goes Live Tommorrow!

On September 8th, tommorrow, Art Helping Mountain Gorillas (WDGP) auctions go live! I can't wait to see what happens. My wish is that we raise awareness and lots of funds for the rangers who protect the less than 700 mountain gorillas left in the world. Please check the Gorilla Protection blog to receive updates on the gorillas and the rangers.

".......many (rangers) are now paid by a European Union-funded conservation group called WildlifeDirect, cofounded in January by Leakey. The group solicits funds from donors with the guarantee that 100 percent of the money goes straight to the rangers.” ~ Newsweek, August 2007

The artists from Art Helping Mountain Gorillas have pledged from 10 to 100% from the proceeds of their sales to WildlifeDirect to help those who protect these critically endangered animals.

~ Robin Andreae (artbyrjandreae)

Art Helping Gorillas--A Work in Progress

One more day till the Art Helping Mountain Gorillas Charity Auction goes live! Excitement is running high. Specifically with me, as I just returned from a business trip. There's a bunch to do!

However, I took my art along with me; so here's a look at what I was able to accomplish in my down time on the trip:


This will be the next installment in a series of hidden picture fairy tale art I have been doing. For the Art Helping Mountain Gorillas auction, what better tale to tell than one from Africa?

"Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters" is a lovely fairy tale from Zimbabwe. It's been called a Cinderella story, but a more accurate comparison would be to "Beauty and the Beast."

In the tale, Mufaro is the father of two beautiful daughters: Manyara, who is attractive in appearance, but self-centered and unkind; and Nyasha, whose gentle beauty matches her compassionate heart. Mufaro's daughters receive a summons to appear before the King, who has decided to take one of them to be his wife.

Eager to be queen, Manyara sneaks out in the night so that she may reach the King ahead of her sister. Along the way, a hungry little boy asks her for food; but she ignores him, thinking only of herself.

The following morning, her sister Nyasha accompanies the wedding party in its procession to meet the King. The same hungry boy makes his plea to the group, and kind-hearted Nyasha stops the procession so that she may give him food. When Nyasha is brought to the King's chambers, she is suddenly surprised to see her sister run from the room in a panic. "There is a horrible monster inside!" Manyara cries.

Courageously, Nyasha steps into the room to see what her sister was so afraid of. Yet what she discovers is not a terrible monster--only a small garden snake that she recognizes as her companion from back home. Before her very eyes, her little friend transforms into the figure of a man--the King himself.

The King knew of Nyasha's gentleness from her friendship toward a wild creature; and he knew, also, of her kindness toward the hungry boy. She was the beautiful woman--in face and spirit--that he wanted to have for his bride.

I feel that this story illustrates the purpose of this auction so well. Like Nyasha, so many beautiful souls are showing kindness and compassion toward their fellow human beings and toward the creatures of the planet, both through their artwork and their efforts to help. As we work together, let's hope for a "Happily Ever After"!

~Christine Taylor (mousewords)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007



Copyright Skye Ryan-Evans 2007

(A lone Mountain Gorilla with view of the Virunga Volcanic range behind (Congo)

( Above) "HOPE" A closer look

This digital artwork is a tribute to the plight of the severely endangered Mountain Gorillas of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. It was created to celebrate the hope that surrounds the survival of these magnificent creatures during a time of devastating political unrest. These animals are caught in the crossfire of a human conflict and have been used to make political statements by being murdered. These innocents need our help!
~Skye Ryan - Evans (rusticmooncrafts)

Gentle Persuasion

"Gentle Persuasion"
Colored pencil
16"x 21"
Copyright ~ Leslie "Chisaii" Evans 2007

The great apes and endangered species have become a passion for my artwork. With my small effort of representing them in my own style, perhaps everyone will be a bit more aware of their need for protection and preservation.

“If my work creates an emotional impact then I’ve truly accomplished more than just a piece of art.”

~Leslie "Chisaii" Evans (chisaiistudio)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Sad News!

Yesterday, things have been turned upside down in DR Congo. As reported in the Gorilla protection blog by Diddy, Bilali's little son has been killed accidentally by some silverbacks fighting. And even worse, last night at 3 am (Congo time), Bikenge Patrol Post was attacked by rebels who both looted the Patrol Post and also disarmed Troop III of the Advance Force. At five in the morning, the camp of Patrol Post Jomba was then also surrounded by rebels, who have been stationed in the area of Runyoni and Chanzu for this last week. They attacked the camp taking 17 weapons, 5 handsets and 6 mobile phones.

The rangers are using what vehicles they have to try and evacuate the guards and their families from these two patrol posts, as well as from the Bukima Patrol Post, which is now very likely to also be a rebel target.

Unfortunately because of these circumstances, they are now unable to work in the Gorilla Sector.

The BBC reports that Laurent Nkunda has declared war on the DR Congo government:

I hate to bring such horrible news. The rangers and the gorillas are in my prayers.

Please know that we are continuing with our auction as scheduled. After this war they will need our help more than ever.

~ Robin Andreae

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Art for Mountain Gorillas? Here's Why

This is just some of what the rangers do:

The rangers of DR Congo daily put their lives on the line protecting endangered mountain gorillas. While in the line of duty, well over 120 rangers have been killed during the last 10 years. Just 3 days ago, one ranger was killed and a camp worker was critically injured.

One of the rangers many duties protecting the gorillas is removing traps like those shown above. With each patrol they find many of these traps, which are destroyed back at the main park station at Rumangabo These deadly traps kill and injure many types of wildlife.

Here's what we can do to help:

With our doantions we can provide the rangers with the tools neccessary to perform their duties.

This is why we do it:

Friday, August 31, 2007

Kunga, The Peacemaker by Skye Ryan-Evans

(Silver-back Mountain Gorilla & Red-eyed Tree-frog)
Copyright Skye Ryan-Evans 2007

Kunga is a Rwandan name meaning "Peacemaker". The symbolism of this brand new digital painting, represents a Silver-back (mature) Mountain Gorilla befriending a Tree-Frog, thus showing that diverse species can co-exist in a friendly way. A rich African sunset over a Rwandan rainforest forms a moody backdrop.
All that is needed for the nearly extinct Mountain Gorilla's survival is for Man to respect him and to cease waging war against this rare and precious species.

(Below)Two Close-up views of this print. (Available as both ACEO and 11 x 16 inch giclee prints.)

The plight of the few remaining Mountain Gorillas in African countries like Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda has this beautiful species precariously balancing on the brink of extinction. Poaching, War and human encroachment on Gorilla habitats via farming and village expansion have decimated the population of these powerful yet innoffensive creatures. Highly intelligent and social, they are not unlike humans in their community life. They feel pain, fear, joy and love just as we do.
In our capacity as artists, the "Art for Critters" and "Art Helping Mountain Gorillas (WDGP)" groups on eBay, have dedicated our artwork to raising funds to go directly towards the protection of these incredible animals. Donations made from the sales of our work will aid the Rangers who provide a valuable protection against the activities of illegal poaching that is so common in these countries.

~Skye Ryan-Evans (rusticmooncrafts)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dr. Richard Leakey for WildlifeDIRECT

Here's some background information about WildlifeDirect. They do truly amazing work. They're administrative costs are paid by a grant from the European Union, so 100% of the money they raise goes directly to those in the field protecting African wildlife.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Here is a recent video from WildlifeDirect of Bilali and her new baby boy born just 2 days ago. She is such a wonderful and caring mother. It gives one hope for the future to see her and her little one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Senkewe, a Tribute to a Leader

Senkewe by Robin J. Andreae
11" x 14" Acrylics on stretched canvas
I finally finished this painting for the auction. It's a tribute to Senkewe, the silverback leader of the Rugendo family. He was one of the victims in the last attack on the gorillas. It's painted from a composite from several photos that I could find of this majestic leader. I only hope that it does him justice. It's kind of strange, I unintentially put what looks like a scar on his upper lip, like the one Crazy Horse has. They say Crazy Horse's spirit lives on in those who remember. He was the defefender of the Lakota people. ~ Robin J. Andreae

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gravy and the Elephant by Sandy Byers

Gravy and the Elephant by Sandy Byers
11" x 14", dry pastel on Sennelier paper
The Story:

They met under the strangest of circumstances. It is not impossible. Gravy The Cat had never met an Elephant, even though he had heard from other cats what great and strong creatures they are. Being The King, Gravy felt it was important for him to meet all creatures. And so began his journey far and wide. Along the way, Gravy The Cat gave much thought to the stories he had heard about Elephants being trained by humans. Being a Cat, Gravy could not comprehend how anyone would allow himself to be trained. How then, could it be that someone so large and so strong as The Elephant would allow such a thing? This is a question that kept Gravy The Cat searching endlessly for The Elephant. Day after day he would set out in his search.

Because Gravy The Cat was relentless, and had only one thing on his mind, it is easy to understand how he was finally successful in finding The Elephant. The day was perfect. The sun shone on them as they sat for hours and talked as if they had known each other all their lives. They had A Bond. They were Friends. Now that they knew each other they both knew they would know each other Forever.

Gravy The Cat felt at ease with The Elephant and so he saw no harm in asking her what he longed to know, “Why would you allow yourself to be trained by a human?” The answer was really quite simple. The Elephant was actually the kindest animal in all the land. She allowed the human to train her because she knew how much the human wanted to think he could.

Gravy The Cat and The Elephant remained friends Forever and they shared many stories about life and the importance of liberty for all animals.

This amazing artwork and story, by artist Sandy Byers (biscuitgravy), is copyright protected and will be part of our eBay auction ~ September 8 -18, 2007

I thank her for her generousity and dedication. It truly amazes me to be in the company of these great artists with such heart! ~ Robin Andreae

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eye Contact

They look up at you from their wrinkled, black leather faces and it's . . . it's . . . well, it's awfully difficult writing about mountain gorillas. Words are unable to convey the emotional impact of the experience. When one first locks onto your gaze with its beautiful, wise, chocolaty-brown eyes your brain explodes. It thwacks you in some ancient corner of your medulla oblongata and comes out as tears. When the gorilla looks away you feel instantly lonely.

As George Schaller famously stated "No one who looks into a gorilla's eyes – intelligent, gentle, vulnerable – can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes, we know that the gorilla still lives with in us."

I am also one of the artists contributing some of my work to this enormously worthwhile endeavor. It is a cause very, very close to my heart as I've been lucky enough to have been to the staggeringly beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

Located at the crest of the mountainous backbone of Africa, at the very center of the continent, the Virunga Mountain Range is the embodiment of western fantasies about "Darkest Africa." The Virungas are in the heart of the legendary land of King Solomon's mines, the long-sought source of the Nile, and the rumored lair of giant crocodiles, man-eating plants, and the brothers of King Kong. And here, in this mysterious and exotic place, juxtapositioned along the boarders of the DR Congo and Rwanda, lies Bwindi. This is the place where the 320 mountain gorillas of Uganda reign supreme. As long as we care enough, that is.

But I think it’s important, too, to recognise the work of some exceptional men. The rangers who lead small groups of visitors up from the community base camps to see the mountain gorilla families are truly the unsung heroes of the Virunga range in all three countries. They are exceptionally knowledgeable, unwaveringly dedicated and, above all, so brave to tackle a job like this where the dangers that lie in wait for them are not the animals that live in the rainforests, but human beings loaded with guns and avarice.

Every single one of us, whether we’ve encountered these extraordinary creatures or not, should be honor bound to acknowledge David Attenborough’s message –

The fate of the creatures which share our planet lies entirely at the hand of mankind - it is within our power to protect them or watch them become extinct. Let us choose the first route.”

- Tessa Edwards (mazoommzee)

Gorilla Art - It Begins!

I'm one of the artists in this great group that has rallied to Robin's call for help. I wasn't aware of the slaughter of members of the Rugendo gorilla family until I saw Robin's post in one of the eBay artists' groups. I'm saddened by the loss of these wonderful animals and the impact it must have upon the remaining members of the family.

Just thought I'd check in and post one of the drawings I've created for the upcoming auction. Although this is not one of the Rugendo gorillas, it's a portrait that I hope captures the intelligence and beauty of these apes that so desperately need our help.

Gorilla Gaze #1 - ACEO scratchboard drawing by Ann Ranlett
The drawing is on black scratchboard and it's ACEO format (a standard miniature art size that's always 2.5" x 3.5").

Thanks for reading our blog and for any support you can offer!

-Ann Ranlett (eBay id: drawdog5)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Exciting Things are Starting to Happen!

Here it is not quite a week since our group formed and we now have 24 artists, a webpage, a blog and a flyer for promotions. William Deed of Wildlife direct has taken time out of his especially hectic schedule to post reference photos of the Rugendo family for our artists to use as reference. We also have few new pieces of art for the auction. I'm so impressed with the drive and enthusiasm of all of our members!

It really amazes me to think about the tremendous outpouring of support ever since Paulin Ngobobo first posted about the horrible slayings. We have artists from as remote as the Mojave Desert of California to the continent of Australia. And we're still growing. If you would like to participate as an artist, please sign up here. Our eBay art auction is scheduled for September 8 - 18, 2007. You may donate anywhere from 10% to 100%.

Please check back regularly for updates on our artwork and the gorillas. ~ Robin Andreae

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is a photo of Ndeze being fed by one of the rangers. She is one of the surviving members of Rugendo family of mountain gorillas. She was found being cared for by her brother after her mother, Safari, was murdered. This photo is very profound. It depicts hope and care. It shows the the care the rangers give. With our art we hope to help those who protect and care for the less than 700 mountain gorillas left in the world. Please join us by spreading the word or donating to Wildlife Direct or by bidding on our art.