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The Endangered Species Print Project blog. Sharing artists interviews, conservation news, endangered species profiles and art and activism projects.

5 Things You Didn't Know About the Panamanian Golden Frog

Molly Schafer

In honor of World Frog Day here are 5 things you (perhaps) didn't know about the Panamanian golden frog...

The Panamanian Golden frog

Uses a form of sign language! Golden frogs move their arm similar to how humans wave. The gesture is thought to be used to greet other frogs and claim territory.

Has a life span of over 12 years.

Is the national animal of Panama and represents good fortune.

Was often taken from the wild and kept in homes, hotels, and restaurants to promote tourism and for good luck. 

Is now believed to be extinct in the wild. The spread of a fungal disease known as chytrid fungus has wiped out golden frog populations. 

The largest population of golden frogs is in... Baltimore, MD!   Project Golden Frog, a collaborative effort among scientific, educational, and zoological institutions in the US and Panama works to create assurance colonies for the species with the hope they will one day be able to return to the wild. Maryland Zoo has had a lot of success breeding the golden frogs. Thats is good news but the frogs cannot be released into the wild until the threat of disease from chytrid fungus has lessened.

 Artist Jenny Kendler's print of a Panamanian golden frog available at Endangered Species Print Project

Artist Jenny Kendler's print of a Panamanian golden frog available at Endangered Species Print Project


Endangered Species Print Project donate 50% of the sale of every one of our Panamanian golden frog prints to Project Golden Frog!  Visit our website to purchase a golden frog print. It will look great on your wall!

What Is CITES? And a CITES 2016 Convention Summary

Molly Schafer

Guest Post by Amy Gornall

44 years ago today CITES was established, and in 2013 the UN proclaimed the 3rd of March ‘World Wildlife Day’ to mark this occasion. On this day, the UN and other organisations celebrate & raise awareness of our wild plants and animals, so spread the word!

What is CITES?
CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (quite a mouthful!) It is part of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and is essentially an agreement between many governments set up with the aim to regulate internationally traded plants and animals, ensuring their welfare.

When Was it Started?
Established in Washington D.C in 1973, there are currently 183 States/Countries involved who have voluntarily agreed to join the convention, which they do so by writing a formal declaration. Once they’ve joined they are referred to as ‘Parties’. Once the declaration is processed, CITES is enforced in that Party - this is legally binding but doesn’t replace national laws.

 CITES 1975

CITES 1975

How Does it Work?
The international trade of plant and animal species ranges from live animals to wildlife products (such as leather goods and wooden instruments) and it’s thought to be worth billions of dollars every year. CITES regulates this wildlife trade with the aim of preventing over-exploitation of these species. They do this by putting control measures in place and enforcing these measures across borders between different countries. Because of this, cooperation on an international scale is vital to its success.

Wildlife species protected by CITES are divided into three categories which are regulated in different ways - Appendix I, II and III; Which group they fall into depends on their vulnerability and they can be moved from one category to another if circumstances change.

Appendix I - Species threatened with extinction - the trade of species in this category is only allowed in exceptional circumstances

Appendix II - Species that are not threatened with extinction but must have controlled trade to ensure their long term survival

Appendix III - Species in this category are protected in at least one country (that has asked other members of CITES for help with controlling the trade)

CITES Conferences
A CITES Conference of Parties (CoP) is held every 2-3 years to:

  • Review progress made in the conservation of internationally traded species
  • Amend species in the appendices eg. Move to different appendices or add completely new species
  • Reflect on reports submitted by Parties and other groups
  • Discuss ways in which to improve the efficiency of the convention itself

In 2016, the 17th conference was held in South Africa. Ms. Bomo Edna Molewa, the Minister of Environmental affairs in South Africa, began the 17th conference stating that it was an ‘important opportunity to implement and strengthen policies to protect species and ecosystems’. 

This was arguably one of the most successful CITES conferences to date, as many important issues surrounding wildlife trade were addressed that had not been addressed before. Here’s a few highlights of the decisions made at CoP17:

Ivory Trade

 © Xu Chao / WWF-China, click image for original article

© Xu Chao / WWF-China, click image for original article

International ivory trade was banned in 1989, however domestic trade (trading of ivory within the boundaries of a country) has remained legal. A proposal to close domestic ivory markets was discussed and agreed to by most members of CITES, as it is widely recognized that these legal markets provide a cover for illegal poaching. 

This agreement isn’t legally binding, but markets contributing poaching or illegal trade will now be encouraged to close. Japan argued that their domestic market doesn’t contribute to poaching, so they do not need to close it in their country. This is questionable because it’s challenging to regulate whether traded ivory is legal or not - as you can’t tell it’s age simply by looking at it. DNA analysis is needed to find out if ivory is pre-1975 (and therefore legal).
Namibia and Zimbabwe submitted proposals to reopen international ivory trade. These proposals were thankfully rejected, as it would have potentially proven a step backwards in our efforts to conserve elephants.

On a positive note however, China expressed their strong desire for the closure of all currently legal ivory markets. As one of the biggest markets of illegal ivory this was a fantastic development and hopefully indicates a more stable future for the African elephant.

Swaziland proposed to change the existing regulations for the white rhino to enable ‘limited and regulated trade in white rhino horn’. Their argument was that the money raised by selling the rhino horn could be used to help fund the protection of the rhinos themselves - this was rejected.


 Photo by Valerius Tygart, creative commons liscense

Photo by Valerius Tygart, creative commons liscense

It was decided that all Pangolin species are to be placed in Appendix I, the highest category of protection. Pangolin populations have been drastically declining to due the high demand for their meat as a delicacy and scales for traditional medicines. This is a significant victory for pangolins and will be a great benefit to help save this species.

It was also agreed that the global trade of African Grey parrots should be banned, moving the species from Appendix II to Appendix I. This ban will make it much easier for law enforcement to ‘crack down’ on illegal poachers and smugglers and allow the wild populations to recover. The critically endangered helmeted hornbill was also thrown a lifeline at the conference, with Parties calling for stricter enforcement against the illegal poaching of the hornbill’s ‘red ivory’.

 An object carved from hornbill ivory. Public domain, Walters Art Museum

An object carved from hornbill ivory. Public domain, Walters Art Museum

The Trump Effect: What does his presidency mean for CITES?
The US is currently the biggest financial contributor to the UN, and so by extension the biggest contributor to CITES. Former president Obama had no reason to doubt climate change and did a lot to ensure the protection of wildlife and natural habitats. However, the newly appointed President Donald Trump has previously expressed his opinion that climate change is a hoax, is seen to be very pro fossil fuels and has appointed the anti-environmental Scott Pruitt as administrator of the EPA.

All of this raises serious concerns about what a Trump presidency means for the future of wildlife.  It is worrying that Trump is planning on signing an executive order that would reduce the voluntary contribution of the US to the UN and other international bodies by 40%. If this was to go ahead it would be a massive blow to funding, as the US provides around a quarter of the United Nation’s total revenues. 

Fighting for the protection of nature on an international scale is needed now more than ever if we’re to oppose these plans that disregard the welfare of wildlife.

 Infographic credit Wildlife Conservation Society, click for original article

Infographic credit Wildlife Conservation Society, click for original article

Amy Gornall is a Manchester based science uni graduate and an aspiring wildlife conservationist. She also draws and paints in her spare time. You can visit Amy's art blog and shop to see her work. 

Remembrance Day for Lost Species

Molly Schafer


Guest post by Matt Stanfield on behalf of the Remembrance Day for Lost Species initiative

Every hour, three species of lifeform vanish from our planet forever. Almost all of this species loss is a direct result of human activity. The rate and scale of the crisis has led scientists to declare that Earth is now experiencing a Sixth Mass Extinction.

Remembrance Day for Lost Species, marked annually worldwide on 30 November, exists as a response to this fact.

The initiative, also known as Lost Species Day, began in 2010. An international grouping of artists and scientists felt that the Sixth Mass Extinction needed to be marked, as other tragedies are, with a day of remembrance.

From the start of Remembrance Day for Lost Species, the aim was always to create an event which was accessible to anyone who wished to commemorate victims of the ongoing extinction event. Memorial activities in past years have ranged from lighting a single candle to holding elaborate funeral ceremonies for lost species. Shown below is a snapshot from a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) styled procession for the Rodrigues solitaire, an extinct bird.

  Remembering the Rodrigues solitaire, 2012. Photo & image rights: Ben Ellsworth, used with permission

Remembering the Rodrigues solitaire, 2012. Photo & image rights: Ben Ellsworth, used with permission

It is significant that both artists and scientists were involved in establishing Lost Species Day, since the initiative is keen to bring together both scientific and artistic responses to the present-day extinction crisis. The interdisciplinary nature of the Day reflects our strong desire that the event should be as inclusive as possible.

In many ways, the heart of Remembrance Day for Lost Species lies in storytelling. The extinction stories of individual species are an excellent way for people to develop an emotional connection with what the Sixth Mass Extinction really means. I can still remember the first extinction story which I learned: the tragic tale of the thylacine, declared extinct in 1936 after decades of persecution. From learning about this animal as a young child, I developed a lifelong awareness of the damage which humans are inflicting upon the rest of nature.

The power of extinction stories is not just found in their exotic settings and the often otherworldly-seeming species to which they relate. When learning about lifeforms now lost forever, thoughts often turn to the many, many threatened species which still survive. In the future, will Lost Species Day also have to commemorate pygmy three-toed sloths, Chinese giant salamanders and Philippine eagles? I hope not and am sure that other participants in Lost Species Day will feel the same way. 

This brings me on to the other key aim of Lost Species Day, besides providing a time for remembrance. The initiative hopes to encourage people to commit anew to doing what they can to ensure that at-risk species have a future. 

Those of us behind Remembrance Day for Lost Species have found that creative activities, such as art, are an invaluable way for people to develop a sense of the value of biodiversity. Arts workshops have been a big feature of many events around Lost Species Day. Below is one of my own attempts to respond artistically to the Sixth Mass Extinction, a drawing of a Yunnan lake newt, a Chinese species believed extinct since the nineteen-seventies.

  Yunnan lake newt, 2016. Image copyright Matt Stanfield

Yunnan lake newt, 2016. Image copyright Matt Stanfield

Of course, Remembrance Day for Lost Species doesn’t have to be about art, or science, or anything more than taking a moment to contemplate what humans have done to so many of the species with whom we share the Earth. How you choose to participate is entirely up to you. 

This year, people all across the world have inspired those of us behind Lost Species Day with the extraordinary variety of responses which they have come up with to the extinction crisis. We are delighted with the enthusiasm which so many people have already shown for the idea and sincerely hope that this reflects a widespread appetite for an opportunity to engage more deeply with the rest of nature.

If this piece has inspired you to participate in this year’s Remembrance Day for Lost Species on 30 November, why not visit to find an event near you or to let us know about something which you are planning for this year’s Lost Species Day.

Words by Matt Stanfield on behalf of the Remembrance Day for Lost Species initiative.


Molly Schafer

Last year over 1,300 rhinos were poached for their horn. In 2016 4 tons of poached pangolin scales have been confiscated. These animals are quickly being wiped out because of human misconception that rhino horns and pangolin scales have medicinal properties. The truth is both the horns and scales are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up human nails!

We called on the artistic community to help spread the message. Many artists created artworks using nail clippings to illustrate how rhino horn and pangolin scales are really just giant toenails. Kids joined the campaign painting their feet like rhinos with toenails for horns. 

You might be thinking this all sounds a bit gross...we know! But that is the point. These animals are being killed in masses so people can ingest horns and scales that are made of the same materials as our toenails. We want to gross them out!

The Conference of the Parties to CITES starts in just 3 days and we demand that pangolins and rhinos receive more protection from illegal trafficking. 



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  • See our infographic detailing rhino and pangolin poaching here
  • Read the full project description and call for art here
  • Get kids rhino art project ideas here
  • See all the work on the JustGiantToenails hashtag here

Thank you to all the talented artists who participated in our campaign. Please keep posting your pangolin and rhino artworks!

Oh and could you please share this post to help us help animals? Use #JustGiantToenails and thanks!


Tiny Activists: Rhino Feet

Molly Schafer

Do your kids want to get involved in our Art Project for Rhinos and Pangolins? Here are some ideas.

Rhino horn is made of keratin- just the same as our toenails! For a fun way for kids to support rhino conservation on World Rhino Day (Sept. 22) try one of the projects below. We can't wait to see what you come up with so share using the hashtags at the bottom of this post or email us a photo of your kids project and we will share it on the Endangered Species Print Project blog, instagram or facebook.


FACE PAINT RHINO (or foot paint):


Our tiny activist requested that her rhino get eyelashes!




Post on Instagram & Facebook & use hashtags: #JustGiantToenails #tinyactivists #WorldRhinoDay

ART & ACTIVISM PROJECT: Rhinos & Pangolins

Molly Schafer


Attention Artist & Conservationists:

We are requesting your participation in a social media campaign to raise awareness against rhino and pangolin poaching. Rhinos and pangolins are being poached in record numbers to supply an increasing black market demand for their horns and scales (which are made from the same proteins as our toenails). On World Rhino Day we plan to speak out.  Join with us and lend your talent to support this important cause.


Please draw either a rhino or a pangolin. Replace the rhino horn or pangolin scales with toenail / nail clippings. GROSS! We know. But that visceral reaction you just had... that is the point. These animals are being killed in masses so people can ingest horns and scales that are made of the same materials as our toenails. We want to gross them out!

A few simple rules:

  1. Please do not post until September 21st (the day before International Rhino Day). We want to flood social media.

  2. Our main focus for the artwork is Instagram so please post there. Square images work best on Instagram.

  3. At 9 am EST on September 22nd, we will send out an e-mail with a blog post that will be shareable to all other social media outlets (facebook, twitter, pinterest ect). If we all share from this blog post it will be the best method to get our project noticed.

  4. Please use all of the following hashtags (many are in Vietnamese and Chinese): #justGiantToenails #sátcánhcùngtêgiác #ourhornisnotmedicine #WorldRhinoDay #savethepangolin #穿山甲 #犀牛 #contete #contêtê #worthmorealive #CoP17 #DemandAppendix1

  5. Feel free to use your existing artwork and just replace/cover the horn or scales with nail clippings.

  6. Please share with other artists who may be interested in participating.


If you are interested in receiving reminder emails for this project sign up here.



 sample art works by Molly Schafer and Katy Tanis

sample art works by Molly Schafer and Katy Tanis


No, problem. You can still help. Please download the top image and post it on social media with our hashtags.


see our infographic on Rhino and Pangolin Poaching


Rhino and Pangolin Poaching Infographic

Molly Schafer

ESPP Artist Interview: Melissa Washburn

Molly Schafer

 Artist Melissa Washburn's studio

Artist Melissa Washburn's studio

Artist and bird enthusiast Melissa Washburn created Endangered Species Print Project's very first woodcut print - a Hine's emerald dragonfly and she hand-colored the emerald eyes on each and every one of her prints!

Melissa Washburn is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer based in Northwest Indiana. She grew up in upstate New York, but has lived in the Midwest since 1996. Her work encompasses watercolor, mixed media, collage, printmaking, and digital work, and her favorite subjects are things that run, fly, or grow. Melissa is also co-founder of CSA Valpo, a unique local art buying program.

And... she designs trilobite fabric patterns so we know you will love her!

Molly: Melissa, you chose the Hine’s emerald dragonfly for your ESPP print. What drew you to this species?

Melissa: The initial conversations I had with ESPP were about some of my recent insect art, so as I started to research endangered insects I wanted to choose something that people would respond positively to AND that I was excited about portraying. Dragonflies are beautiful, have complex anatomy, and are incredibly beneficial in terms of controlling pests such as mosquitoes. This particular species also lives in the Midwest, which is where I live too.

 Molly: What was your process for creating your print?

Melissa: I started out by reading a bit about the species and looking at LOTS of reference photos. Many dragonfly species look very similar, so I had to figure out how to add something to make this piece truly represent the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly. The most striking feature of this insect is the bright green color on its eyes and sides. Hand-coloring a black and white print seemed to be a good solution. My printmaking process involves lots of drawings, often piecing them together either physically, collage-style, or in Photoshop, to arrive at a final composition. Once I am happy with the drawing, I transfer it to the wood block and begin cutting. Next comes the process of test printing, refining the image by cutting away more/adding detail where needed, and then printing the full edition of the final image.

 Heron woodcut prints by Melissa

Heron woodcut prints by Melissa

Molly: Have you had any exciting animal encounters recently?

Melissa: Yes! In addition to insects, I get very excited about birds, and I live in an area along the south shore of Lake Michigan that is visited by hundreds of species of migratory birds annually. I was able to go to a couple of events during the recent Indiana Dunes Birding Festival including a birdwatching hike where I saw about 10 new (to me) species including some beautiful warblers and a yellow-headed blackbird, quite rare for this area.

Molly: Neat! When I lived in Chicago I was amazed by how many migratory birds can be seen in the region. I've seen 3 different species of owls along the lakefront! 

Besides birding what have you been working on lately? 

Melissa: I’m participating again this year in Elle Luna’s 100 Day Project on Instagram, and have been sharing daily pen portraits of people whose work and/or life I admire. You can find me on Instagram at @mwashburnart and search the #100daysproject to see some of the fantastic projects other artists are sharing.

Molly: Yes I've been enjoying seeing your daily portraits! Its fun to see who you select to draw. 100 days is a lot of work- my 100 day project has temporarily fizzled due to my own project overload. So well done and keep up the good work!

 Queen of Clubs from Melissa's animal playing cards project

Queen of Clubs from Melissa's animal playing cards project

Ok I like asking everyone this: If money and accessibility were no object and you could go on a nature exploration anywhere in the world- where would you go?

Melissa: The Galapagos Islands, and Colombia. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Medellin, Colombia, last summer for a wedding, and just scratched the surface of this beautiful country. It boasts more bird species than any other country on earth, and a birding tour there would be absolutely amazing.

Molly: As an ESPP artist you obviously are passionate about conservation. What drives you to care about conserving the natural world, why is it important to you personally?

I grew up in the foothills of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, and camping and hiking trips with my family were an early point of exposure and learning about nature. I’ve just always been fascinated with/curious about plants and animals, being able to identify them, and of course enjoying their formal qualities as an artist. Living near Lake Michigan as an adult has been amazing because it is an area of incredible biodiversity and also has a long history of push and pull between environmental concerns and industrial ones. The natural world connects us to something larger than ourselves and preserving it is critical to not just our enjoyment, but our quality of life and our own survival as a species.

 A work in progress from Melissa's studio

A work in progress from Melissa's studio


Thanks so much to Melissa for creating such a great piece for Endangered Species Print Project! We only have 50 of Melissa's hand-colored woodcut dragonfly prints on masa rice paper available. 50% of the sale of each print is donated to The Wetlands Initiative. You can get yours here.

 Melissa's Hine's Emerald dragonfly for Endangered Species Print Project

Melissa's Hine's Emerald dragonfly for Endangered Species Print Project

Backyard Conservation: Plant a Monarch Garden

Molly Schafer

 photo by author

photo by author

After nearly a decade in Chicago we recently relocated back to the mid-atlantic region and have been enjoying a fantastic, flowery, extended Springtime the likes of which Chicago does not know. It is wonderful! 

If you have spring fever like me use your fever for good and help the Monarch butterfly. There has been an 80 percent decline in the monarch population over the last 2 decades. Due to widespread use of herbicide and endless development of formerly wild areas over 100 million acres of monarch habitat have disappeared.

You can help by planting seeds and it's super easy and fun to do!

I am starting my little monarch garden with goldenrod, aster, butterfly weed and some milkweed seeds I purchased at University of Delaware Ag Day. The 2016 Ag Day theme was sustainability which was awesome and I got to pet some bugs and puppies too.  You will need to be sure to use milkweed seeds that are native to the region where you live. 

 official monarch waystation sign ,

official monarch waystation sign ,

If you create a monarch waystation be sure to register it with Monarch Watch and get this cool sign to put up. If you don't have a yard consider planting a monarch waystation on land in your community, school, work, etc.  Sprinkle some seeds in an unused patch of land. 

Here are some links to get you started...


Create habitat for monarchs

Milkweed seed finder by state

Monarch Watch (loads of info and seed kits)

Citizen Science opportunities

2016 Lawsuit Launched for Endangered Species Act Protection of Monarch Butterflies




Animal Umwelt at iMOCA

Molly Schafer


The exhibition Animal Umwelt brings together the work of Jenny Kendler and Molly Schafer as well as select works from the Endangered Species Print Project, which the two artists conceived in 2009.

ESPP artists included in the exhibition are Christopher Reiger, Susan Jamison, Megan Diddie, Matthew Hilshorst, Alexis Trice, Molly Schafer, and Jenny Kendler.

The exhibition will be on display at iMOCA / Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art through March 20. 

If you are in or near Indianapolis, IN and see the show please let us know in the comments.  You can read more about the exhibition on the museum's website.

 Drawings by Molly Schafer at iMOCA as part of Animal Umwelt

Drawings by Molly Schafer at iMOCA as part of Animal Umwelt

 One Hour of Birds by Jenny Kendler on display at iMOCA

One Hour of Birds by Jenny Kendler on display at iMOCA