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Another mural depicting an endangered species has been splashed across a Bozeman home as part of a project spearheaded by a local conservation group.

The newest addition depicts pallid and white sturgeon. The pallid is one of the largest and rarest freshwater fish in North American, and the white sturgeon has only a 30 mile-stretch of habitat left in Montana, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The pallid are found in the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, and the white are found in the Kootenai River.

The mural is part of the Threatened and Endangered Species Project from the Craighead Institute. The goal is to highlight 12 of Montana’s endangered species through public art displayed around town. Artists were asked to submit possible ideas for each piece.

The project was started by April Craighead, a wildlife biologist with the institute.

“A lot of (endangered species) aren’t necessarily charismatic, but they serve as important indicators of ecosystem health,” Craighead said.

Mural subjects vary — fish, mammals, plants. Artist Robert Rath, a painter and designer, chose to submit a depiction of sturgeon specifically for their uncharismatic qualities.

“I’ve done work designing dinosaurs and these kind of look like dinosaurs...They’re the less glamorous endangered species,” Rath said.

Rath’s piece features both types of sturgeon swimming in a river, a map of Montana with marks of where the fish are found and is painted with greens, blues, yellows and browns.

The first mural of the project was created over Sweet Pea weekend by artist Juliene Sinclair and depicts two whooping cranes. Festival-goers voted on what mural should be installed next, and they chose the sturgeon. The materials and commissions are paid with a $2,000 grant from Sweet Pea Festival, however the project is still in need of donations and sponsorships.

Craighead was inspired by a similar project in New York City. The National Audubon Society has commissioned more than 100 public murals depicting birds threatened by climate change, and plans to install at least 200 more.

Valerie Harms owns a home on Ravalli Street that became the canvas for the newest mural. She said after hearing about the project, she knew she wanted to be involved. Having once worked for the National Audubon Society, she feels passionate about protecting endangered species.

“Once they’re gone, they’re really gone. And more and more habitats are disappearing,” Harms said.

More information about the project can be found at

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Shaylee Ragar can be reached at or at 582-2607.

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