"Wild Things" Winning Photos of Animals on Display at Santa Barbara Zoo through August 7th

 Robert Houchen’s image of a tree frog emerging from behind a leaf.

Robert Houchen’s image of a tree frog emerging from behind a leaf.

Earlier this year, animal-loving shutterbugs were invited to snap and submit photos of animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo as part of the first-ever “Wild Things” contest, and now the winning works are on view. Sponsored by the Zoo and the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, the “Wild Things” exhibit features more than 40 winning images by adults and “juniors” (aged 17 and younger). The exhibit is hung in the Zoo’s Volentine Gallery through August 7, 2018, and is free to view with Zoo admission.

Of 265 entries in the adult category, 20 winners were chosen. Of 75 junior entries, 21 were chosen. The juried exhibit gave prizes for first, second, and third place in both age groups. The photographs are for sale, with prices from $40 to $500. Proceeds from sales benefit the artists, Zoo, and Wildling.

 Kirsten Henke’s 2nd prize “Bright-eyed and Bushy Tailed”

Kirsten Henke’s 2nd prize “Bright-eyed and Bushy Tailed”

Top Winners Announced

Robert Houchen’s image of a tree frog emerging from behind a leaf was the “Wild Things” First Prize winner. Kirsten Henke’s “Bright-eyed and Bushy Tailed” won Second Prize and captures the long tongue of an infant giant anteater as it rides on its mom’s back. Third Prize went to Hunter Anglemoyer for “The Rainbow Plumage,” which shows a scarlet macaw’s plumage from an unusual angle.

Top winners in the Youth category include “Tastes Like Chicken” by Madisyn Iversen, aged 16, which captures Masai giraffe Michael with his long tongue in one nostril. Second place went to 

11-year-old Emma Lossing’s image of a fennec fox. “Am I Blue,” a portrait of a blue and yellow macaw, won third prize for 11-year-old Aislinn Wilson.

Prizes include memberships and passes to both the Zoo and the Wildling, gift cards and gifts for each’s gift stores, artwork created by Zoo animals, and more.

“Wildling at the Zoo”

This is the second collaboration between the two organizations. Last year, the Wildling staff curated an exhibit of student art at the Zoo which tied into the “Animals from A to Z” exhibit in their Solvang location. This partnership, formalized as The Wildling at the Zoo, continues with this contest and exhibit, and with future coordinated projects at the two locations.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care. A private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements.

The Wildling Museum, where art and nature meet, offers visitors a unique perspective on the importance of preserving our natural heritage. Through the eyes of artists, education and field experiences, guests can renew their relationship with the wilderness and understand its fragile nature – hopefully leaving more committed toward ensuring those spaces remain for future generations.