John Frederick Walker

JFW in Furnace “Rotating / Axis” show November 12

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on November 2, 2022

I’m very pleased to have two works in a group exhibition opening on November 12, 3-5 pm at Furnace – Art on Paper Archive, Falls Village, CT.   

Furnace – Art on Paper Archive

107 Main Street, Falls Village, CT 06031

Winter Gallery Hours 

Saturday, 11am – 4pm 

& by appointment.

Remembering Richard D. Estes

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on December 9, 2021
Richard Estes, 2008 Angola

Wildlife biologist Dr. Richard D. Estes has passed away.  

Estes was more than an expert, he was a mentor, and an inspiration—to me and many others. The 93-year-old founder and former chair of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group was the author of The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, The Safari Companion, The Gnu’s World and other authoritative texts, and a legend in the field of African wildlife conservation.  

What is known about the wildebeest is largely based on his research.  But his studies extended to other species as well, including the giant sable antelope of Angola.  He and his wife Runi did fieldwork in 1969-70 and co-authored a definitive paper on this majestic and critically endangered species, the country’s national animal. 

The giant sable was thought to have been wiped out during Angola’s long civil war (1975-2002).  The indefatigable Estes participated in several attempts to determine if any remnant population survived.  I was privileged to join him and other biologists on several expeditions into Angola’s highlands. Above, Estes (then in his 80s) scans the bleak Angolan woodlands in 2008 for any sign of the creature.  

In 2009, we both joined a capture operation organized by Dr. Pedro Vaz Pinto, who had managed to obtain photographs of a few surviving giant sables.  Aided by veterinarian Dr. Pete Morkel, the expedition found some twenty animals, and rounded up enough of them to form a captive breeding group, saving the giant sable from extinction.  

Estes will be missed. 

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The Giant Sable remains endangered

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on July 9, 2021
Vaz Pinto, on left, with wildlife vet Pete Morkel and a sedated giant sable. credit: Pedro Vaz Pinto

Ashley Stimpson’s recent, riveting reporting in Atlas Obscura focuses on biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto, who spearheaded efforts to save Angola’s walking emblem, the giant sable antelope. Against all odds, the 2009 expedition he headed to find and capture some to create a captive breeding herd, succeeded.

“Though Vaz Pinto has enjoyed many magical moments over the course of his 20-year mission to save the charismatic ungulate, the creature’s future remains fraught,” Stimpson writes. There are only about a hundred of them in Cangandala National Park, perhaps only 300 total in Angola, which is struggling economically, and poaching is on the rise as people struggle to survive.

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JFW Review of Myanmar’s Growing Illegal Ivory Trade with China

Posted in elephant and ivory news, Uncategorized by JFW on October 8, 2020

“This disturbing report is the last of the late Esmond Martin’s collaborations with Lucy Vigne, who worked with him on a groundbreaking series of meticulously researched monographs on endangered wildlife trade studies, including analyses of Asian ivory markets covering three decades. Vigne brought this project to completion in 2018….”

To read the rest of my review, which appears in Pachyderm No. 61, July 2019 – June 2020, click here.

JFW in Craven Contemporary “New Nudes” show November 16 – Jan 19

Posted in art news, Uncategorized by JFW on November 18, 2019


John Frederick Walker, Lip Service (2012)

“New Nudes” is a group show of some of the hottest contemporary artists who are either new or showing the male and female body in a new way. The two largest works in the show are collages by Mickalene Thomas and Troy Michie which appear on the long gallery wall.  Other smaller works shown alongside are by artists including Danielle Orchard, Sam McKinniss, Lou Fratino, Mona Kuhn, Bruno Leydet, Linder, Paul Sepuya, Elad Lassry, Jeremy Kost and Erwin Olaf.

The show will also feature a table of altered book works by local Washington, CT based artist John Frederick Walker.

CRAVEN CONTEMPORARY / 4 Fulling Lane / Kent, CT 06757

Kenya’s White Giraffes

Posted in conservation news, Uncategorized by JFW on October 9, 2019

White giraffes?  The first one known was spotted in Tanzania in 2016.  Now there are three in Kenya’s Ishaqbini Conservancy.  These aren’t albino animals—their coloring is due to a partial loss of pigmentation caused by leucism.  They are otherwise healthy, and are being closely monitored. You can read more about them here.

Ishaqbini is a remarkable community-run sanctuary which I had the privilege of visiting in 2011 to see another rare animal, the hirola, a highly endangered antelope species now being protected on pasture land set aside to conserve them.  You can read my article on them here.

Northern White Rhino Eggs Successfully Fertilized

Posted in conservation news, rhino news, Uncategorized by JFW on August 27, 2019

In breakthrough conservation news, Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya announced on August 23 that 7 out of 10 eggs harvested from the last two existing Northern White rhinos were successfully fertilized with previously frozen sperm from two Northern White rhinos.  (The last male of the species, Sudan, pictured here, died last year at the sanctuary.)  The hope is that viable embryos can be implanted into Southern White Rhino surrogate mothers, and that the Northern White rhino will not go extinct. Fingers crossed….

JFW on CCTV-America Ivory Trade Debate

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I was interviewed on CCTV-America last night on the ivory trade in a debate with Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.  As always, not enough time to make a number of key points, but was able to discuss some critical issues.  The 8-minute exchange is here.

Diamond Mining Threatens Giant Sable Antelope

Posted in Uncategorized by JFW on March 13, 2013

The magnificent giant sable antelope, a critically endangered sable subspecies that happens to be the national animal of Angola, needs all the help it can get to survive. Only about a  hundred of these creatures are left.  Diamond mining in its long-isolated habitat could be the death-knell for this walking emblem.


Colin McClelland, reporter for Bloomberg News in Angola, has broken a story on state gem company Endiama EP, which had drawn up plans to expand diamond mining into the Luando Reserve, critical environment for the giant sable.  McClelland interviewed Endiama spokesman Antonio Freitas, who stated that “Endiama’s main goal is to protect the palanca negra [giant sable].”

Angolan biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto, who has rescued a small number of the animals for a captive breeding program nearby, says he’s encouraged by Endiama’s response, but warns that “a concession in that location must be blocked,” as it would result in roads, bridges, and camps being built in what is now undisturbed giant sable habitat.

Click here for a link to this story.