There will be rhinos everywhere at Paignton Zoo this weekend as the charity prepares for the climax of The Great Big Rhino Project.
The Goodbye Rhinos event – from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th October – provides people with one last chance to catch up with the Great Big Rhinos before the all-important charity auction on 3rd November.
There will be life-size painted rhinos outside the public entrance, in the ticket hall and the Zoo restaurant and arranged in a row along the main drive. They will be installed on Thursday 13th and removed from early on Monday 17th October.
Another star of the weekend will be Techno Rhino, created by a team led by staff from the Met Office in Exeter. This rhino has a panel of LED lights that can be controlled remotely by an iPad or by Twitter. It’s hoped it will be on display for part of Sunday in the Education building, with Met Office people on hand to explain how it works.
In addition, there will be a pop-up shop selling Great Big Rhino souvenirs, as well as badge-making, colouring-in and paint your own rhino activities.
Pippa Craddock, organiser of The Great Big Rhino Project, said: “We’ve had a rhino summer, with thousands of people following the art trail around Exeter and the English Riviera. Goodbye Great Big Rhinos is the one chance to see them all in a herd before they are auctioned to raise money for rhino conservation. We’ll have rhino bunting, people in brilliant rhino costumes and lots going on, so it’ll be a great weekend.”
On Sunday 16th there will be a reception for rhino sponsors – many of whom are local businesses – to say thank you for their support. There will also be information about the charity auction available and guidance on how to buy tickets for the event on-line.
The Great Big Rhino Project put a trail of life-size painted rhino figures around the streets, parks and open spaces of Exeter and the English Riviera. Thousands of people enjoyed the ten-week spectacle. Surplus funds from the project will be used by Paignton Zoo to support Javan and Sumatran rhino conservation via Save the Rhino International.
Rhinos have been around for 40 million years. There are five species: black,
white, greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran. All of these are threatened with extinction – three are Critically Endangered as defined by the IUCN (World
Conservation Union). This means that they will not survive without massive and urgent action.