Animals create custom creations for zoo fundraiser


As an artist, Poppy is deliberate. She steps carefully into trays of salmon and mustard colored paint before patting her paws against the soft white fabric. She stops often to snack on grapes and fat, rolly super worms.

But Belle. Oh Belle. The free-spirited painter rolls and rambles across her canvas leaving splatters of yellow, purple and pink on her artwork, the table and passersby. At one point, in her excitement she tumbles over the edge of the table and scrambles across the grass below.

Poppy, a possum, and Belle, a clouded leopard, are helping to craft their own future by creating custom t-shirts with their paw prints. The shirts will be sold at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo’s Animal Art Safari on Nov. 2.

Dozens of animals at the zoo will take their turn dipping their paws, claws and toes into colorful paints and then walking across white t-shirts emblazoned with the animal art safari logo.

The shirts are a collector’s item since only 30 will be made and sold this year. Even rarer are the exquisite pieces of art that other animals have created over the past few months. Canvases, some as large as a wall, will be on display and up for auction at the fundraiser.

In crafting those pieces the trainers worked with the animals and used training techniques to help steer their use of the paint on the canvas.

The Art Safari will be held on the grounds of the new Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, located just miles up the road from its current location. In addition to the animal’s creations, the silence auction will also feature artwork by local and world renowned artists. The $75 ticket includes dinner, a full bar and entertainment by Platinum Duo.