Extinct & Almost Extinct: Oregon Silverspot Butterfly

-The following painting with notes is from my Extinct & Almost Extinct project –

extinct - oregon silverspot butterfly - 2015-12-12 at 11-13-16

Oregon Silverspot Butterfly-

saved from extinction-

The Oregon Silverspot Butterfly historically ranged from Washington to northern California. Their habitat is along the coast in salt-spray meadows. This beautiful medium-size butterfly is dependent on its only host plant, the early blue violet. A female lays about 200 eggs in vegetation near the blue violet and the larvae feed on the early blue violet leaves, no other plant will suffice. The adults normally move out of the meadows into fringe brush for heat conservation and nectar feeding.

Only a few places in Oregon and northern California now host populations. Habitat destruction led to listing the butterfly as a threatened species in 1990. The reduction of suitable habitat has been caused by multiple factors: residential and business expansion with their parking areas and lawns, public parkland development and traffic, overgrazing, and the use of off-road vehicles. In the past wildfires and wild animal grazing helped to keep the meadows open.

Today efforts are being made to actively maintain and nurture the salt-land meadows that support the Oregon Silverspot Butterfly. These include mowing, burning, and planting native plants in the meadows. A captive breeding program was begun in 1999 by several Northwest zoos. These breeding programs involve raising the butterfly to the pupae stage and then releasing them into areas with declining populations. Up to 2000 pupae have been released each year, augmenting the butterfly population and increasing the possibility of survival for this lovely creature.


Extinct & Almost Extinct: Northern Spotted Owl

Below is a painting with notes from my Extinct and Almost Extinct project –extinct - northern spotted owl - 2015-12-12 at 11-11-32

Northern Spotted Owl –

threatened –

Northern Spotted Owls are about 18 inches in length and have wing spans up to four feet. They are nocturnal hunters and prey primarily on squirrels, voles, wood rats and mice. They are non-migratory and prefer large territories of old-growth forest that have been maturing for 150-200 years. The range of Northern Spotted Owls stretches from Northern California to Southern British Columbia.

In 1990 they were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This was primarily due to declining numbers caused by habitat loss from timber harvesting by companies that favor the same old growth forests that the owls need for nesting and hunting. Even with efforts to conserve habitat for the owls, their numbers have been dwindling about 3 percent a year.

In addition to habitat loss, the Northern Spotted Owl also suffers from a new threat, the migration of Barred Owls into their traditional territory. The Barred Owl spread from the eastern United States to the west coast in the 20th century. They are larger, more aggressive owls who have a more diverse diet making them more adaptable. They prefer the old growth forests where spotted owls make their homes. Both species are territorial and do not tolerate the other in their nesting and hunting areas. But with Barred Owls needing less territory, Northern Spotted Owls may have to protect their areas from multiple Barred Owls. This competition and the continued decline of the Northern Spotted Owl has led some people to propose the elimination of the Barred Owl. A pilot program was instituted in Northern California of shooting the Barred Owls, and another proposal calls for killing 3,600 Barred Owls throughout the Northwest, an approach that has created warranted controversy.

Extinct & Almost Extinct: Western Lily

The following is one of the paintings with notes from my Extinct & Almost Extinct project –

extinct - western lily - 2015-12-05 at 11-50-57

Western Lily –

endangered –

The Western Lily is a perennial flower that reaches a height of five feet. It can be distinguished from other native lilies by its unique coloring, non-spreading stamens, and unbranched bulb. It grows at the edges of marshes, in poorly drained forests or thickets, and in coastal prairie and scrub forest near the ocean. In 1987 only 25 populations survived in an area that extends for 200 miles in southern Oregon and northern California. In 1994 it was listed as an endangered species by the federal government.

A number of factors have combined to threaten the survival of the Western Lily; the clearing and draining of wetlands, the development of cranberry agriculture, competition by shrubs and trees for suitable growing sites, and the collection of its bulbs by lily growers, breeders, and other horticultural enthusiasts.

The primary effort to restore the Western Lily is to establish populations within protected and managed areas. To save the lily a coalition of federal, state, and local governments, industry, and private landowners is needed. Twenty areas have been designated as viable places for populations to exist, and the goal is to have 1,000 plants in each area. To create suitable habitat, programs have been developed for controlled cattle and goat grazing, manual clearing, conservation easements, and a genetic management plan to enhance the population. These efforts offer promise for the survival of this beautiful flower.

Extinct & Almost Extinct – Key Deer

The following is a painting and text from my ongoing project Extinct & Almost Extinct —extinct - key deer - 2015-11-17 at 10-30-52

Key Deer –
saved from extinction –

This diminutive sub-species of the white-tailed deer, sometimes called the “Toy Deer,” stands 24” to 32” at the shoulder and weighs 50-75 pounds. It once lived throughout the Florida Keys but is now found primarily on Big Pine Key. The Key Deer inhabit pine forests, mangroves, and freshwater wetlands. Males live about three years while females can live to six years. Occasionally they swim between islands in search of freshwater. Their favorite foods includes mangrove tree leaves and thatch palm berries. By the 1950’s only around 50 of the little deer survived. The National Key Deer Refuge was formed in 1953 and when the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1966 the deer became one the first species protected. Now around 600-700 deer inhabit the area.

The future of the deer is far from certain and they are still listed as an endangered species. There is a continuing loss of habitat due to increased human development in the area and road traffic kills an average of 45 deer a year. They have a lack of fear of humans that draws them into communities and dangers such as free-roaming dogs. The destruction of hurricanes and the diminishment of habitat by global warming also threaten their survival. Hope lies in people being able to coexist with the little deer and there are signs of that with increased land-use regulation and habitat protection.

Extinct & Almost Extinct: Woodland Caribou

–The following is a paintingextinct - woodland caribou - 2015-11-24 at 11-49-49 and text for my ongoing project Extinct & Almost Extinct —

Woodland Caribou —

Woodland caribou differ from the northern tundra dwelling caribou in not only habitat but also diet and body structure. The woodland caribou are larger, darker, and are not migratory but move to different elevations in the mountain during different seasons. They live in the temperate mountainous forests that extends from Eastern British Columbia to Northeastern Washington and Northwestern Idaho. Caribou are the only species of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers, although the males are much larger. Woodland caribou graze on the spring and summer vegetation and in the winter mostly eat tree lichen. Caribou are the only large mammals that can eat lichen due to specialized bacteria and protozoa in their stomachs. Their large feet give them support on the snow and shovels for digging in the snow. Surprisingly caribou are also excellent swimmers, using their large feet as paddles and gain extra buoyancy from their hollow hairs. Females do not breed until two years of age and often only have one calf every two years.

Estimates have the number of woodland caribou in Canada at about 1900. The Southern Selkirk mountains herd in Northeastern Washington and Northwestern Idaho has dwindled to around 20 caribou and is listed as endangered. Efforts in the 1980’s and 1990’s to reintroduced more woodland caribou to the area failed. Challenges to the woodland caribou include logging and fire reduction of habitat, mortality due to predators and highway collisions, and human development including roads, pipeline construction and motorized recreation such as snowmobiling. Recovery programs have been instituted to protect the habitat of the woodland caribou and to decrease the number of predators.