Why fibreglass rhinos peppered throughout London, England have tourists gawking
Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye are not the only British landmarks catching people’s eyes for the past several weeks.
Since August, fibreglass rhinos have been peppered throughout the streets of London, England. The herd of 21 animals is aiming to bring attention to African rhinos, which have been poached nearly to extinction.
Tourists and commuters have been petting and snapping pictures of the colourful and silver rhinos, part of a charity art installation, including one multi-coloured one with “hate is out of date” on its hide.
Even one Chinese tourist from Beijing laughed, saying that she didn’t expect her first day visiting London to include meeting her “first rhino.” She mentioned that it was shameful that real ones are disappearing.
The population has dwindled over the past century as rhinos were slaughtered for their horns, only 29,000 remain in the world. This is a far cry of the estimated 500,000 rhinos that lived across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century, according to Save the Rhino, a U.K.-based conservation charity.
The art installation is from Tusk, a British non-profit organization set up in 1990 designed to protect African wildlife including African rhinos and elephants, and is called Rhino Trail.
Love these statue hunts around london. Makes wandering around that more fun.— ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴀᴘʜ ᴏꜰ ᴋʜᴀɴɴɴɴɴɴɴɴɴɴɴ (@lemonjellie) September 8, 2018
Also the plight facing rhinos is important, so great that they are raising awareness of the issues facing these beautiful creatures.
Check them out till 22nd if you can. #tuskrhinotrail pic.twitter.com/G2cQUN8Tgb
One of the rhinos was painted by Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones.With his background studying art, the famed guitarist painted a rhino with a picturesque background on its side and namedit Spike.
“I want this animal to be seen by my kids,” said Wood, who adopted a real rhino decades ago. “I think that everyone deserves to have that pleasure.”
Prince William of Wales is the official leading patron of the trail, with leading artists donating their unique artistic takes on painting the rhinos, which will be auctioned off at a charity event at Christie’s—a British premier auction house.
Chris Westbrook, the curator of Rhino Trail, said he wants people to know that it’s all art for a good cause.
“We are losing three black rhinos every day—every day, 365 days a year,” he said.
For anyone looking to visit London and see the rhinos for themselves, the trail installation will end Sept. 22 with the auction following shortly after.
With a report from London Bureau Chief for CTV National News Paul Workman