Our first collection is sustainable tattoo-style artwear and artdécor that features exclusive designs of endangered species by independent global ARTivists (artists + activists). Our collaboration with independent tattoo artists, who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a win-win. You get customized, original designs that are a unique artistic statement, and the artists get their work seen by and promoted to a new audience!

Our initial drop in collaboration with ARTivists Zlatko, Milan, and Jesus of Custom Tattoo Design features 11 species that are endangered per official lists such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list: Dragonfly, Elephant, Gorilla, Owl, Polar Bear, Rhinoceros, Seahorse, Tiger, Turtle, Whale, and Wolf.

We are excited for our new collaboration with UK ink studio Lást Maps on species 12, Penguin!  

1. Dragonfly

Our artwear and artdécor depict a mixture of endangered dragonflies (Anisoptera) and damselflies (Zygoptera), sub-orders that are part of the Odonata order of flying insects. 

Dragonflies and damselflies are some of the planet’s oldest insects, dating back over 300 million years. They play a key role in wetland ecosystems and are invaluable indicators of the health of these environments. Most of their life is spent underwater, from egg to larvae, and they have a comparatively short adult life, living outside the water for only a few weeks. It takes 1-2 years for a dragonfly or damselfly to reach adulthood. Their diet consists of flying insects such as flies, midges, and mosquitoes, which means they are a natural means of pest control.

Endangered Status

Many species of dragonfly and damselfly are endangered, including the Kenya Jewel, Oceanic Hawaiian Damselfly, Elusive Skimmer, Basking Malachite, Cretan Bluet, and Turkish Red Damsel. Threats to dragonflies and damselflies include habitat loss (e.g., drained wetland habitats), pesticides/pollution (because they need good water quality for growth and development), changes in groundwater (because they need spring-fed shallow water to breed), and human-introduced species.

2. Elephant

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of elephant, the African Elephant, which has two subspecies, the African Savanna or Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) and African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).

The African Elephant is the largest land animal. African Elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, the rainforests of Central and West Africa, and the Sahel desert in Mali. The average Elephant has a lifespan of around 70 years, can walk up to 195 km per day, and with a trunk that can weigh up to 140 kg, these giants can reach up to 7 tonnes. Savanna Elephants have outward-turned tusks, whereas Forest Elephants have downward-pointed, straight tusks. African Elephants are so big that their hearts only beat every two seconds or 30 beats per minute, and their size makes them “ecosystem engineers." This means they are critical in altering the function of their ecosystem: wooded areas are turned into grasslands by Elephants trampling and knocking down trees; grasslands are fertilized by Elephant dung; and watering holes are created when Elephants dig for water that can sustain many species. Females rule the Elephant world, as they and their young live in breeding herds, whilst the males are often cast aside. The average gestation period for a female Elephant is 22 months. A baby Elephant (“calf”) weighs around 200 lbs (91 kg), stands about 3 feet (1 m) tall, and can drink its mother’s milk until the age of 10.

Endangered Status

In the 1970s, there were 1.3 million Elephants in the world; now there are only an estimated 400,000. Forest Elephants comprise about 1/4 to 1/3 of the total African Elephant population, however their numbers have dropped over 86% in the last 30 years, whereas the Savanna Elephant population has dropped over 60% in the last 50 years. Both species are at risk of extinction due to poaching driven by high demand for their ivory tusks.

3. Gorilla

Our artwear and artdécor depict two endangered species of gorilla: Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei).

Gorillas are the largest of the great apes and share 98.3% of their genetic code with humans. While gorillas are often portrayed as ferocious, studies show they are quite docile unless provoked. The Western and Eastern Gorilla live in equatorial Africa, separated by about 560 miles of Congo Basin Forest, and each has a lowland and upland subspecies. They live in family groups of usually 5 to 10, but sometimes more than 50, led by a dominant adult male or “silverback”. Once a female begins to breed, she will likely give birth to only 1 baby every 4-6 years, and only 3-4 over her entire lifetime. Adults are equipped with incredibly powerful arms, up to 20% longer than their legs. Males are about twice as heavy as females and can grow to about 1.7 metres (5.5 feet) and weigh, in the wild, between 135–220 kg (300–485 pounds). A wild adult female normally reaches about 1.5 metres tall and weighs between 70–90 kg. Gorillas’ diet is vegetarian. Eastern Gorillas’ diet includes leaves, stalks, and shoots, but the Western Gorilla diet consists largely of fruit. Every night, each gorilla builds its own sleeping nest by bending branches and foliage.

Endangered Status

The main threats to Gorillas are poaching and habitat destruction. There were nearly 17,000 Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the mid-1990s, but estimates suggest a decline of over 50%. Western Lowland Gorilla numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 25 years. Due to the very low reproduction rate of Gorillas, it is estimated that even if all threats were eliminated it would still take over 70 years for the Western Lowland Gorilla population to recover.

4. Owl

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of owl, the Masked Owl, which has several subspecies including: Golden Masked Owl (Tyto aurantia), Minahassa Masked Owl (Tyto inexspectata), Taliabu Masked Owl (Tyto nigrobrunnea), and Australian Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae).

The Masked Owl inhabits various forests and woodlands across multiple islands. Feeding mainly on small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, bandicoots, and birds, the Masked Owl is a prime nocturnal hunter. Masked Owls are mainly solitary, apart from breeding pairs during mating season. The Masked Owl’s key feature is a white heart-shaped mask with brown or reddish feathers surrounding it. Depending on the species, the Masked Owl ranges in size between 1-2 pounds and stands between 10-12 inches.

Endangered Status

The greatest threat to the Masked Owl’s survival is loss of habitat that is cut down to make way for agriculture. This deprives it of a large portion of its nesting grounds, resulting in a serious drop in reproduction. While it is exceedingly difficult to track the species’ exact population, because it is mainly nocturnal, it is estimated that the population of Tasmanian Masked Owls – a subspecies of Australian Masked Owl – consists of only 500 breeding pairs.

5. Polar Bear

Our artwear and artdécor depict the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), an endangered species.

Polar Bears, the largest bear in the world, live in oceanic, arctic climates, in Northern Canada, Alaska, Russia, and Norway, however at least 2/3 of the world’s polar bears live on Canadian territory. They have white fur and spend over 50% of their time hunting for food (seals, walrus, and beluga whales), with males weighing up to 800- 1000 kg and females up to 400 kg. Polar Bears must distribute their weight evenly to avoid falling through the ice, so they are equipped with paws the size of dinner plates. They can swim at a pace of about 6 miles per hour with just their front paws, using their back legs as a rudder. They also have three sets of eyelids, including one that protects from the glare of snow and ice. Climate change is impacting Polar Bear evolution and resulting in hybridization. The Pizzly Bear, a mix between the Polar Bear and Brown (Grizzly) Bear, was first discovered in 2006. While their habitats can overlap, Brown Bears were historically found much further south than the Polar Bear. However, the warming climate has led to Brown Bears moving further north and into more of the Polar Bear’s range, increasing the likelihood of contact and interbreeding.

Endangered Status

Currently, there are approximately 22,000 to 31,000 Polar Bears in the wild. Due to the remote locations Polar Bears inhabit, data is deficient regarding exact populations, especially in areas such as Arctic Russia. However, the percentage of some populations has dropped over 30% in the last 3 decades and is expected to continue to decline. The future of this species is dependent on sea-ice habitats. As sea ice melts, more Polar Bears are resting along Arctic coastlines and spending increased time on land seeking new sources of food, resulting in increased conflict with humans. While the bears have some capacity to adjust to the warming Arctic, the loss of sea-ice habitat is accelerating at a rate that could be too fast for adaptation and, since there is no adequate substitution for their main source of nutrients (seals), many Polar Bears are dying of starvation.

6. Rhinoceros

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of rhinoceros, the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis).

The Black Rhino is one of two African Rhinoceros species and the third largest rhinoceros. Its average weight is between 700 and 1,300 kg (1,500 and 2,900 pounds) and it has two horns, the front one being much more pronounced, which grow as much as 3 inches per year and have been known to grow up to 5 feet long. Except for females and their offspring, a single calf that does not live on its own until it is about 3 years old, Black Rhinos are solitary. If they encounter a watering hole, Black Rhinos use the mud as a natural sunblock and insect repellant by rolling in it.

Endangered Status

Once an abundant species in sub-Saharan Africa, the Black Rhino is near extinction due to high demand for its ivory horns, resulting in a huge black market poaching industry. Until the 1900s, there were about 1 million individuals. By 1995, poaching had decimated the population to about 2,400, but conservation efforts slowly increased it to approximately 5,600 in 2018.

7. Seahorse

Our artwear and artdécor depict a mixture of endangered species of seahorse, including: Barbour’s Seahorse (Hippocampus barbouri); Hedgehog Seahorse (Hippocampus spinosissimus); Japanese Seahorse; Knysna Seahorse (Hippocampus capensis); Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus); Patagonian Seahorse (Hippocampus patagonicus); Spotted Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda); Thorny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix); Three-spot Seahorse (Hippocampus trimaculatus); Tiger Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes); West African Seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus); and White’s Seahorse (Hippocampus whitei).

Seahorses are found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, have an average lifespan of 1-5 years, and are 0.6-14 inches long. Because of their body shape, seahorses are surprisingly bad swimmers and when caught in stormy seas can die of exhaustion. By using a small fin on their back that flutters up to 35 times per second, they propel themselves through the water, using small pectoral fins on the back of their heads for steering. Seahorses anchor themselves with their prehensile tails to sea grasses and corals, graze continually, and can consume 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day. They are monogamous, mate for life, and are among the only animal species in which the male bears the unborn young. Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch in which the female deposits her eggs, and the male fertilizes them internally, carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, and then releases fully formed, infant seahorses into the water.

Endangered Status

The greatest risks to Seahorses are habitat destruction, pollution, and harvesting, as they are used in traditional Asian medicine. Over 30 Seahorse species are vulnerable to extinction. The most at-risk Seahorse species is Knysna Seahorse, South Africa’s only endemic seahorse, which is found in just 3 Estuaries (where a freshwater river meets the ocean).

8. Tiger

Our artwear and artdécor depict the Tiger, an endangered species, which has two recognized subspecies: the Continental Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), which includes the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, and Amur (Siberian) tiger populations; and the Sunda Tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica), which includes Sumatran tigers.

Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world, and the largest of all the Asian big cats, with adults measuring up to 3.3 metres. Males of the larger subspecies, the Continental Tiger, weigh up to 660 pounds, whereas males of the smaller subspecies, the Sunda Tiger, weigh a maximum of around 310 pounds. Tigers can consume more than 80 pounds of meat at one time, at full speed they can reach up to 65km/h, and their roar can be heard as far as 3 km away. Tigers have reached up to 20 years of age in the wild and they are mostly solitary, apart from mothers raising their children. Females give birth to 2-4 cubs every 2 years, but juvenile mortality is high and about half of all cubs do not survive more than 2 years.

Endangered Status

Tigers are at risk due to poaching for parts, retaliatory killings, and habitat loss. After 100 years of decline in the population, overall wild Tiger numbers are beginning to increase. In India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia, and China, Tiger populations are either stable or increasing. However, in some areas, such as Southeast Asia, Tiger populations are still declining. An estimated 3,900 Tigers remain in the wild. The Continental Tiger, whose habitat extends across Asia, has around 3500 individuals. In contrast, there are fewer than 400 Sunda Tigers, living only on the island of Sumatra.

9. Turtle

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of turtle, the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

The Green Turtle, named for the greenish color of its cartilage and fat (not its shell), is one of the largest sea turtles, growing up to 5 feet long and weighing up to 700 pounds, and the only herbivore in the group. It lives mainly in tropical and subtropical waters and migrates long distances between the beach where it hatched and feeding grounds. Mating occurs every 2-4 years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to the shore, resulting in a clutch of 100-200 eggs. While most sea turtles warm up by swimming close to the surface of shallow waters, the Eastern Pacific Green Turtle is one of the few sea turtles that leaves the water outside nesting times to bask in the sun.

Endangered Status

Green Turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults for their meat, fishnet-caused drowning, boat propeller accidents, and loss of nesting beach sites due to human developments. Estimates put the Green Turtle at about 90,000 individuals and the population is declining.

10. Whale

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of whale, the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus).

Blue Whales are the largest animal on the planet, weighing as much as 200 tons (approximately 33 elephants), with a length equivalent to 2 city buses, and a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. They play an important role in the overall health of the marine environment and are at the top of the food chain. Blue Whales eat about four tons of krill (shrimp-like crustaceans) each day, and they are the loudest animals on earth (even louder than a jet engine). They have a lifespan between 70-80 years and reproduce every 2-3 years, giving birth to 1-2 calves that weigh up to 2 tons. Blue Whales live solitary or in small groups called pods.

Endangered Status

Today, the total number of Blue Whales in the Northwest Atlantic population is estimated to be around 250 adults. During the 1900s, Blue Whales were a prized target for whaling, and even after commercial whaling was banned in 1966, hunting continued. While whaling is no longer a threat, climate change and its impact on krill, Blue Whales' main food source, makes the Blue Whale particularly vulnerable. They are also threatened by habitat loss and pollution and harmed by ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

11. Wolf

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of wolf, the Red Wolf (Canis rufus).

Historically the Red Wolf ranged from southeastern Texas to central Pennsylvania, but today the only place Red Wolves can be found in the wild is in eastern North Carolina's Albemarle Peninsula. The Red Wolf is between the size of a gray wolf and a coyote, being about 4 feet long and standing about 26 inches at the shoulder, and weighing between 45-80 pounds, with males averaging about 60 pounds and females about 50 pounds. Red Wolves mate for life, form packs with their offspring of around 5-8 individuals, and breed once a year, giving birth to 1-9 pups. Offspring stay with their parents until they are up to 3 years old, at which point they venture off to find a mate of their own. Red Wolves typically live 5-6 years in the wild and as long as 14 years in captivity. They play a valuable role in keeping numbers of prey, like deer and mice, in check. While Red Wolves are a distinct species, breeding with coyotes is a serious threat to their survival.

Endangered Status

The Red Wolf is one of the most endangered canids in the world. By 1970, years of hunting and habitat loss had driven the species to the brink of extinction. The US Fish & Wildlife Service captured the 14 remaining Red Wolves they found in the wild to begin a captive-breeding program. All the current 150-250 Red Wolves living in North Carolina are ancestors of those individuals. Red Wolves are the first animal to be successfully reintroduced after being declared extinct in the wild. Of the existing Red Wolves, only 10 belong to the wild population. Of these, only 1 is a female that has experience breeding, and she has been seen spending time with a male coyote as opposed to a male Red Wolf. In 2019, for the first time in 30 years, no litters were born, neither were any born in 2020.

12. Penguin 

Our artwear and artdécor depict one endangered species of penguin, the Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi).

The Northern Rockhopper Penguin is small (about 5 pounds), red-eyed, orange-beaked, and has spiked black and yellow feathers extending from a yellow "eyebrow". It moves on land by hopping up to 6 feet from rock to rock, and lives in the south Indian and Atlantic Oceans, with breeding colonies primarily found on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island. Adults live for 10 years, mate for life, and share care of their eggs (usually 2) and hatchlings (usually 1) with each other and other adults: 1 parent incubates while the other forages at sea for food like crustaceans, squid, and fish (diving as deep as 330 feet), and parents gather food for chicks while they are cared for in a group "crèche". 

You might recognize the Northern Rockhopper Penguin from its appearances in movies and TV shows like “Surf’s Up” (Cody Maverick, the main protagonist), “Happy Feet" (tritagonist Lovelace, voiced by Robin Williams), and “The Penguins of Madagascar” (special agent Buck Rockgut).

Endangered Status

The Northern Rockhopper Penguin has experienced rapid population decrease over the last 30 years and its population continues to decrease, primarily due to human-caused threats. These include climate change, altered marine ecosystems, overfishing, fish net entanglement, pollution like oil spills, ecotourism-caused disturbance, hunting/trapping, egg harvesting, and invasive species. 

Posted August 6, 2021

Updated August 15, 2022; October 31, 2022