Alexis Kandra - Lobo and Blanca
Oil and metal foil on wood panel // 24" X 30"
Lobo and Blanca are two legendary wolves, written about by naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton in his 1898 book Wild Animals I Have Known.
According to legend, Lobo was the leader of a wolf pack in New Mexico in the 1890's. As ranchers and settlers encroached on the wolves' habitat and natural food sources, the wolves began to feed on cattle and sheep. Settlers tried to kill the wolves with hunting and traps, but each time Lobo lead his pack out of danger. Frustrated, the ranchers put a bounty on Lobo's head.
Seton was hunting wolves at the time, and took up the challenge. He set poison baits, but Lobo collected and buried the poisoned meat. He set traps, but Lobo exposed each trap and lead his pack around them. Seton failed for months. The perceptive and intelligent wolf was always one step ahead of him.
Seton learned that Lobo had a mate, a white wolf named Blanca. Seeing his opportunity, Seton set out to trap Blanca in an area Lobo had not yet uncovered. His plan worked, and Blanca was shot by ranchers as Lobo helplessly looked on. For days Lobo howled and grieved, circling the ranch house. Using the scent of Blanca's body, Seton lured Lobo into the traps that finally snared him. Seton felt sorry for the wolf, defiant and brave even as a captive, and ever loyal to his mate. He wanted to keep Lobo alive. The ranchers put a collar around his neck and chained him to a stake in the pasture. But Lobo's spirit could not be contained, and he died of a broken heart that night.
Seton said his experiences with Lobo were a revelation about the intelligence, dignity, and struggle of animals as humans destroyed their habitat. Seton stopped hunting and became a conservationist, advocating for the protection of wolves and other wildlife.
In this painting, Lobo and Blanca live on together.