Since returning back to Exeter, or arriving for the first time as a new student, you’ve probably noticed a number of new residents sharing the streets of Exeter with you. These are not people, or even real life animals, but rather, life-size sculptures of rhinos, which have been decorated by local artists to raise awareness of rhinos facing extinction.
The rhinos in Exeter are only a small part of a huge project taking place along the English Riviera. The project consists of 42 life-size sculptures which form a public art trail in order to raise awareness of the threat of extinction to wild rhinos, particularly the Javan and Sumatran species. The Great Big Rhino Project wants to promote the difference local communities, businesses and individuals can make to the cause. This is not the first time such a project has been attempted; in 2013 a similar scheme was run for wild gorillas (The Great Gorillas Project) which was extremely successful, generating a huge public interest and increase in sponsorship for the charity.
The project is free to join and if you follow the trail and manage to find all of the rhinos, there is the chance to win a great prize. You can join the cause here: http://www.greatbigrhinos.org.uk/users/register. It’s also a fantastic chance to discover more about some of the many talented local artists and communities getting involved in the project. Some of the rhinos even have their own twitter pages!
A few to have a look at are (@tranquillity_R) and (@Hope_Rhino) which have over 2600 followers between them!
33 of the 42 rhinos are located at various points in Exeter. Find them yourself and tick them off at your leisure, or use the trail guide available online here so you don’t miss them before they go. These are a few of our favourites at Razz: Blossom, Symbiosis and Targeted.
The project is running for ten weeks and ends on the 9th October so there is a limited chance to see them before they go. After this, they will be displayed at Paignton Zoo for a few days, and will then be sold at auction to raise money for the charitable cause on the 3rd of November.
Photo Credits: all photos are courtesy of www.greatbigrhinos.org