The Wildlife Casting Project
Sarah Madigan is a wildlife rehabilitator, educator, and creator of the Wildlife Casting Project. Making a wildlife casting is essentially a two-step process: 1) making a mold of a part of an animal (e.g., paw, wing, foot) or an entire animal and then 2) pouring a casting material into the mold to create a copy. Sarah has both state and federal permits for her casting process.
Rooted in devotion to wildlife conservation and awareness, Sarah describes the goal of the Wildlife Casting Project:
My deepest hope for my own work is that as people encounter the animal casts, their wonder and imagination for the wild world will increase. I believe that wonder leads to love, and there is no question that we care for and protect what we love. I will continue to exhibit the wildlife casts and provide conservation groups with materials for outreach and public education programs […] As a whole, the wildlife casts stand as documentation of our natural history and my way of paying homage to the wild world.
Many of Sarah’s castings are being used in New Mexico schools to educate children on wildlife conservation issues.
The Rare and Endangered Species Trust
One of Sarah’s latest endeavors, which involved a vow to make wildlife castings of all 23 species of vulture in the world, led her to the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST), located in Namibia, Africa. REST is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 by Maria Diekmann. The group is devoted to the rehabilitation, conservation, and research of the “Forgotten Five” (plus one!). These animals include: the Cape Griffon Vulture [photo below], Dwarf Python, African Wild/Painted Dog, Cape/Ground Pangolin, Damara Dik Dik, and Spotted Rubber Frog. For more information on this organization, visit their website: www.restafrica.org.
While in Namibia, Sarah encountered a diverse range of animals and made castings of the following species:
- The Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)
- The Giant Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus)
- The Southern White-Faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti)
- The Yellow-Billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius)
- The Wild Donkey (Equus asinus)
These African wildlife castings will be used as educational material as well as part of an upcoming endangered wildlife exhibit. Sarah’s wildlife castings have also inspired future conservation projects, including a return to Africa for a larger mammals project.
A Gift from Sarah
Sarah graciously sent us a casting she made of a jaguar’s paw (Panthera onca – a black panther) [picture below]. For this particular casting, Sarah used PlatSil® 73-25 silicone rubber mold material and gypsum cement casting material.
At times, she also utilizes EasyFlo 60 Polyurethane Plastic as a casting material; this plastic can be used in conjunction with brown PolyColor dye and bronze powder for a cold cast bronze effect.