Green Light for Dudley Zoo Otter Project
The short clawed Himalayan Otter is an endangered species.
The Himalayan Otter charity is working to raise awareness of these beautiful endangered animals and help to preserved the few that remain in the wild. Dudley Zoo has a pair of Himalayan Otters, a mother and daughter pair, and is running an Otter Project to raise funds for the charity.
At the beginning of August 2023 the education centre for Dudley Zoo got in touch with Forbes Brown, volunteer at The Art Yard gallery, and asked if our team would help their Otter Project. Harry Bloomer (MFAA Projects Lead)
got in touch with the Zoo and so began the start of a partnership that will bring together artists and creatives from across the West Midlands to help the Zoo achieve its objectives of increasing public awareness of the Himalayan Otter charity and the plight of the animals it seeks to protect.
The Otter Project revolves around the creation and eventual auction of 8 cold cast poly-resin and fibre-glass otter models. Once produced, 8 groups of community artists have been identified who will each have 1 of the otters to paint and preserve with varnish. The groups undertake the task of designing a colourful coat for their model, which once approved will be painted and preserved by them in their own community setting.
Once the otters are completed there will be an Open Exhibition at Dudley Zoo in the half-term February holiday 2024 to introduce the otter models to the wider community. Following the short exhibition the otters will go on tour about the West Midlands and beyond to help raise awareness of the species in the wild before retuning to Dudley Zoo in May 2024 when the otter models will be auctioned to raise resources for the charity.
Groups taking part are Visual Artist Collective, Backroom Artists, Dudley Adult & Community Learning, The Art Yard (Art Club), Halesowen College creative studies students, Happy Painters group at West Smethwick Park, Dudley Society of Artists and Gregg Broad's TAY volunteers.
Halesowen College have agreed to partner with the Zoo over the production of publicity, promotions, recording evidence, animal education and social media.
More news will follow as the project grows.