BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Some researchers believe that our planet is home to 8.7 million animal species.

The variety of large and small creatures that roam Earth’s forests, swim through its waters, and soar above its treetops have fascinated humans for centuries.

Artistic depictions of animals that date back to the late fourth to early third millennium B.C. have been discovered in southwest Iran. And one of the world’s most ancient cave drawings of animals, found in Indonesia, is believed to be at least 45,500 years old.

Modern artists are still inspired by the beauty, oddities, and humorous antics that are so plentiful in the animal kingdom. This was evident by the many submissions to BREC Baton Rouge Zoo’s ‘Art Gone Wild’ event during the month of December.

Local artists of all ages were invited to use their favorite artistic tools to paint, draw or sketch the animals of their choice.

Final submissions were displayed within the Zoo during the weekend of December 10, in conjunction with its ZooLights event.

Some of the displayed art is pictured below.

If this is your first time hearing about ‘Zoolights,’ you may want to make plans to participate in the special 35-day event!

Zoolights, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, invites guests to follow a well-crafted path throughout the zoo, which allows participants to view over four dozen illuminated sculptures of animals and holiday displays that have been designed to capture the imaginations of children and art lovers.

Families who enjoy Zoolights’ festive atmosphere will also want to take advantage of its featured Safari Photo Booth and dine on the seasonal specials offered at the Zoo’s Flamingo Café.

This event offers something of interest to every member of the family, and participants can enjoy themselves without overspending.

According to the Zoo, “every guest presenting a non-perishable food item during the hours of Zoolights, will receive a 50% discount from the regular admission price. All food donations will go directly to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.”

Click here to learn more about Zoolights.