Taronga Western Plains Zoo is calling for local artists to join the charge and submit a creative design for one of 75 Wild! Rhino sculptures that will feature across Sydney and the local region from February - April 2014.Whether you are a professional artist, art student or an enthusiastic amateur, Taronga invites you to submit your Wild! Rhino design.“We are looking for artists from all kinds of art forms from fine art to graffiti, new media to mosaic, embroidery to metal work. We want to add drama, colour and fun to the Taronga Wild! Rhinos sculpture trail,” said the Zoo’s General Manager, Matthew Fuller.Submitted designs will be judged by a panel and selected designs will feature as part of the Wild! Rhino sculpture trail. Successful artists will receive an honorarium of $1000 and acknowledgment as the artist on the sculpture base, event website and event collateral. “At the end of the event the Wild! Rhino sculptures will go under the hammer at a charity auction to raise critical funds for the Zoo’s rhino conservation programs,” said Matt.“The project will not only highlight the great conservation work the Zoo does but also showcase Dubbo and provide a unique opportunity to link Dubbo’s CBD with Sydney’s CBD, and your business or school could be a part of it.”Taronga Wild! Rhinos is a Wild Art event that will bring businesses, artists and schools together to create a spectacular sculpture trail throughout public spaces in Sydney, Dubbo and surrounds.The mass public art exhibition will help raise awareness for the plight of all rhino species and raise valuable funds for Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s world leading Black Rhino breeding program and in-situ conservation projects.In 2007, rhino poaching losses dropped significantly to only 13 rhinos for the year. Since then, poaching levels have increased dramatically with 408 already poached in 2013.“The demand for rhino horn is having a devastating impact on rhino populations in Africa and Asia, with African Rhinos barely keeping pace with the unprecedented poaching crisis, said Matt.“Our work to support rhino conservation is vital. Through the generous support of sponsors and the final charity auction of the Wild! Rhino sculptures, we hope to raise funds to support our conservation efforts both at home and overseas,” said Matt.Schools, local businesses and individuals can also get involved and support Wild! Rhinos by sponsoring a rhino sculpture or purchasing a rhino sculpture for their school to decorate.“Wild! Rhinos is a great opportunity for the community to come together to promote Dubbo and the amazing work that happens here at the Zoo, but also to raise awareness for the plight of all rhinos in the wild,” said Matt.Interested artists, schools and organisations looking to sponsor a Rhino can find more information at www.taronga.org.au/wild-rhinos. Artist submissions close 23 August 2013.