Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Ken Done with painted Taronga WILD! Rhino

Iconic Sydney artist, Ken Done, today painted life-size Black Rhino sculpture live in his Rocks Gallery to help Taronga Zoo save wild rhinoceros.

The rhinoceros he painted is part of the Zoo’s community art project, Taronga Wild! Rhinos, which will see 55 Rhinoceros installed across Sydney and on a trail to Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo and surrounds from February to April, 2014.

Ken said: "Albrecht Dürer, the famous German artist, made a wonderful woodcut of a rhinoceros in 1515.  Now, almost 500 years later, I'm honoured to have the opportunity to paint a life-sized model of a rhino to help, with many other people, raise awareness of the plight of this mighty animal. " 

“I want my grandchildren to see a rhino.  It would be a great tragedy if we neglected to support their preservation."

In addition to the adult rhino sculptures, there are 63 calf sculptures being painted by NSW school students from Wagga and Jindabyne to Sydney. This project enables artists and Taronga to inspire everyday people to support programs that help stop poaching of Rhinos in the wild.

The Zoo’s General Manager Marketing and Fundraising, Paul Davies, said: “We’re delighted that Ken is using his unique view of Sydney to ignite public interest in such a vital effort for Rhinoceros.”

“We’ve called on artists, designers and creative people in the community, as well as corporations to help. Over 250 designs were submitted and organisations including Kennard’s Hire, Destination NSW and Federation Centres have already joined the project as sponsors and supporters, encouraging others to join in the program.”

“The rhino sculptures arrived in August and the herd has been stored in Kennard’s Artarmon warehouse, where much of the painting and decoration will take place ahead of their installation across the CBD, greater Sydney and on the trail to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo from the beginning of February.”

In May, the Rhinos will be auctioned and we hope to raise over $ 400,000 to support rhino conservation in the wild and the Zoos’ own Rhinoceros conservation programs including breeding of the three Rhinoceros species at Taronga Western Plains.”

Mr Davies said “As part of Taronga’s rhino conservation work we have partnered with TRAFFIC, the international organisation which monitors the illegal trade in wildlife which is behind the poaching of all five surviving rhino species for their horns to be used in traditional medicine. Experts believe that at present rates, poaching will outstrip the birth rate of rhinos in 2015 leading to extinction.


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