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First came gorillas, now here come the rhinos from Paignton Zoo

PUBLISHED: 16:35 16 November 2015

Artist Sue with finished Stella, flagship rhino for Paignton Zoo.

Artist Sue with finished Stella, flagship rhino for Paignton Zoo.

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Take a look at Paignton Zoo’s colourful conservation fundrasing project.

Artist Stuart Wright with his rhino 'Invincible?'Artist Stuart Wright with his rhino 'Invincible?'

From Indonesia to the English Riviera, a colourful crash of rhinos is coming your way…

Paignton Zoo’s ‘Great Big Rhino Project’ will see 25 uniquely decorated rhino sculptures migrate to the streets, parks and open spaces of Exeter and the English Riviera. The creative fundraising scheme will see the rhinos be sponsored to feature in a public art trail from 20 July 2016, raising money for rhino conservation through ‘Save the Rhino International’.

Following successful Great Gorillas Project in 2013, this year’s scheme is well underway as artists from across the country are getting to know their 40 kilo charges.

Funds will be raised through rhino sponsorship and by a charity auction of the sculptures in November 2016.

Flagship rhino 'Stella', being painted by Sue MisselbrookFlagship rhino 'Stella', being painted by Sue Misselbrook

So far, local businesses are keen to get involved: “There is a demand for us to do this. There’s grassroots energy and a real desire to be part of it,” says Pippa Craddock, director of marketing and development at Paignton Zoo.

Save the Rhino International will use the money to support anti-poaching patrols, as sadly the primary threat to rhinos is illegal poaching for their valuable horns.

Funding will also help the managed captive population of Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia, whose breeding programme had its first success in 2012 with the birth of calf Andatu.

The project also promotes conservation education, providing opportunity for schools to decorate their own rhino and learn about one of the most urgent conservation priorities on the planet.

Blank rhinos in storage as they wait for sponsors and artists...Blank rhinos in storage as they wait for sponsors and artists...

“Conservation can work if it’s done well,” says The Great Big Rhino Project. “Today, there are only around 28,000 rhinos surviving in the wild.... in 1900 there were fewer than 50 white rhinos in the world!”

To find out more about the project visit greatbigrhinos.org.uk/, follow #greatbigrhinos, and keep your eyes peeled for some colourful species coming to Devon next year…

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