A three-story tall tiger now graces the side of a building in lower Manhattan. The tiger’s eyes peer down at passersby, gaining attention for this majestic species. The artwork, which is entitled, 'Beyond Borders: The beauty and peril of the tiger' is a collaboration between FOUR PAWS and urban contemporary artist Sonny Sundancer. Commissioned on the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the mural raises awareness about protecting tigers around the world – both in the wild and in captivity.
Sonny completed the mural in eleven days, enduring a brutal heat wave in the city and working into the long summer evenings. A public unveiling took place in Manhattan on 31 July, 2023, where FOUR PAWS staff, supporters, activists, coalition partners, and curious New Yorkers were able to gather together and mingle with the artist.
“Through my work painting large-scale murals around the world, I have seen firsthand the incredible power of art to captivate people and spark conversations, both online and in the streets. With a deep passion for wildlife and big cats, I am truly honored to be a part of this impactful campaign and hope that my art can help bring awareness to this amazing initiative.”
Sonny Sundancer, Urban Contemporary Artist
While tigers are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), they are still traded both legally and illegally internationally, fueling an international market for traditional medicine products and so-called luxury items. South Africa is a hotspot for intensively farming and commercially trading big cats, and FOUR PAWS is fighting to #BreakTheViciousCycle and ban the commercial trade of all big cats in South Africa.
In the US, it is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 big cats live in private ownership. FOUR PAWS advocated for the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which was passed in December of 2022, and requires private owners to register the animals they already have, while prohibiting them from breeding, selling, or acquiring more animals. But there is still work to be done. Despite the proven success of the Endangered Species Act, this federal law is still under attack. We must keep this important piece of legislation strong if tigers and other threatened species are to have a chance at survival.
“The tiger holds a very special place in our hearts. Amidst our unwavering efforts to safeguard this majestic species, we unveil a triumphant three-story dedication to hope and activism, as a towering testament to the Endangered Species Act fueled by unwavering commitment and indomitable will. We hope this message beckons the world to unite in purpose, to preserve endangered life, shield our planet, and forge a future where hope thrives for all living beings.”
Danika Oriol-Morway, Country Director, FOUR PAWS USA
Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.
The NYC tiger mural is one in a series that are being painted across the US to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ESA along with our coalition partners at #ESA50 and the Endangered Species Coalition. The mural series with locations across the country, will spotlight regional ecological and cultural diversity within the US by highlighting plants and animals that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
“The Endangered Species Act is one of our most successful environmental laws – 99% of the wildlife under its care have been saved from extinction, including the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and humpback whale. As the Act turns 50-years-old, we must renew our commitment to future generations by strengthening the law that protects endangered species and the special places they call home.”
Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition
Sonny Sundancer puts the finishing touches on the tiger mural in Manhattan
Additionally, FOUR PAWS will continue our work with Sonny Sundancer to create another mural in Cape Town, South Africa, which will feature a lion. As South Africa is home to our LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary, this year of art helps emphasize that saving big cats is a global effort.
Extinction is forever, which is why threatened and endangered species need our help now! Let’s raise our voices against the trade of tigers and other big cats. #BreakTheViciousCycle and protect the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
If you are in the New York area, feel free to stop by and see the mural in-person at 188 Lafayette St. in Manhattan and tag us in any photos for a chance to get shared on our social media accounts!