Perspectives: Human Nature, Animal Culture

Discussion with Peter Zahler

Tuesday, October 19, 2021
12:00 – 1:00 pm


Perspectives invites local community members to interpret a work of art from Human Nature, Animal Culture: Selections from the Frye Art Museum Collection through their own distinct lens. Peter Zahler will take you “behind the art” to consider the intricate connections between history and natural history that has helped drive human culture and art, and the complicated future we all face – humans, domestic animals, and wildlife – as we search for ways to coexist. In particular, we will explore the “mountain monarchs” – the great mountain goats and sheep of the greater Himalayas that have long thrived along the ancient Silk Routes of trade between Europe and Asia – as an example of this complex relationship.


Peter Zahler is Vice President for Conservation Initiatives at the Woodland Park Zoo. He has built conservation field programs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Arctic Beringia (Alaska and Russia), and worked on or supervised conservation projects in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, China (including Tibet), the Russian Far East, four of the Central Asian states, Iran, Peru, and Venezuela. He has helped support the protection of snow leopards, tigers, Asiatic cheetahs, lions, jaguars, Asiatic cranes, penguins, Mongolian gazelle, saiga antelope, and bristle-thighed curlews, just to name a few species. Peter was also credited with rediscovering the four-foot-long woolly flying squirrel in the mountains of Pakistan after it was thought to be extinct for 70 years. He has also helped send over 200 young conservation leaders from developing countries to get Masters and PhD degrees at schools such as UW, WSU, Yale, and Oxford through his work on two graduate scholarship programs.

Anton Braith. Goats and Sheep, ca. 1870. Oil on canvas. 11 5/16 x 18 5/8 in. Founding Collection, Gift of Charles and Emma Frye, 1952.016. Photo: Jueqian Fang

Advanced registration is required.