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Artist Pedro Silva paints a jaguar sculpture in Central Park.
Photograph: By Rossilynne Skena Culgan | Artist Pedro Silva paints a jaguar sculpture in Central Park.

Jaguar statues are coming to NYC’s biggest landmarks for a good cause

See how many of the 40 statues you can find around town.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
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Rossilynne Skena Culgan
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Forty life-size jaguar sculptures are coming to the city’s most famous landmarks starting next week as part of an open-air art exhibition. 

It’s called the Jaguar Parade NYC 2022, and you can see the beautifully painted sculptures around New York City from September 7 to October 5. Each jaguar has its own pose and its own design scheme painted by artists from around the world. The sculptures will be on display at landmarks including Tavern on the Green, United Nations Headquarters Plaza, Central Park Zoo, and Times Square. Here's a map of where to find the statues around town.

The event aims to raise awareness and funds for the urgent need to help jaguars and their habitats. It will end in an art auction with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to jaguar conservation efforts.

“Placing the jaguar statues in key public places brings the environmental cause to the forefront of the public’s attention, reaching millions of people in a very unique way,” The Jaguar Parade said on its website. 

Artist Pedro Silva paints a jaguar sculpture in black and white.
Photograph: By Rossilynne Skena Culgan | A work in progress by Pedro Silva.

Outside of Central Park’s iconic Tavern on the Green on Friday afternoon, artist Pedro Silva’s work was already drawing public attention as he wielded a paintbrush to adorn a nearly five-foot tall jaguar sculpture with his signature black-and-white styling.

“The idea is to be black and white because the focus is not on the aesthetic; the focus is on the message. The biggest mantra, the central mantra that I created for this terroir is ‘I Love My Self,’” Silva said, reflecting on his body of work and the challenges he faced in immigrating from Brazil to the U.S. “I needed a mantra as a tool to adapt to New York as an artist, to adapt in a different culture.”

A crowd gathered to watch Silva’s plein-air painting with exclamations of “oh my gosh!” and “awesome!” 

A sculpture of a jaguar painted in geometric designs.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Jaguar Parade NYC 2022 | "Pantera Fractalis" by Laila Mackenzie

About The Jaguar Parade

The Jaguar Parade started in São Paulo, Brazil in 2019 after successful similar Elephant Parades, the program’s founder Carol Baretto said. 

“This is so powerful,” Baretto said the team quickly realized about the Elephant Parades. “We are raising awareness of an animal that is not even close to Brazilians.”

So she decided to spotlight an animal closer to home, and she’s excited to bring the Jaguar Parade to New York City, even though the city isn’t the natural habitat for the Americas’ largest cat. Jaguars, the team says, embody the same attributes of New York: strength, beauty, freedom, and resilience. 

The Jaguar Parade NYC 2022 is supported by global conservation organizations, including the United Nations Environment, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Wildlife Conservation Society, Panthera, World Wildlife Fund, and the Lion’s Share.

A statue of a jaguar painted in black and gold colors.
Photograph: Courtesy of Jaguar Parade NYC 2022 | The "Black is King" painting by Bakari

About jaguars

Jaguars currently inhabit 18 Latin American countries, from Mexico to Argentina. Though their range is broad, jaguars have been eradicated from nearly half of their historic lands. The jaguar is listed as “near threatened” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Helping these animals means conserving tropical forests, wetlands, and other environments.

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