A sculpture of three massive Rhinos by Gillie and Marc Schattner was unveiled at Astor Place on Thursday, representing the last living animals of a species that humans have hunted to the brink of extinction.
The 17-foot bronze sculpture was put in place in the East Village to draw attention to the plight of the Northern White Rhino, whose extinction is imminent. The species is extinct in the wild, and just three Northern White Rhinos remain alive in captivity.
The species, which is the second largest land mammal after the Elephant, has been hunted to near extinction by poachers eager for their valuable horns.
The Schattners recreated the last three Northern White Rhinos – Sudan, Najin, and Fatu – “to inspire, educate and mobilize the global community to raise their voices and affect real change against illegal rhino poaching trade.”
Visitors to the sculpture are encouraged to leave a goodbye message … with the artists hoping to collect 1 million messages worldwide to “put them toward a petition for approaching governments about eliminating the demand for rhino horns through education.”
Gillie and Marc spent a week with the three remaining rhinos — Sudan, Najin and Fatu — in Kenya in March 2017 to prepare for the sculpture. The three rhinos are housed at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where they are under armed guard 24 hours a day. The Rhinos can’t breed because the male rhino is too old and the female rhinos are infertile.
The Shattners duo said they were able to spend time up close and personal with the Rhinos, observing and touching the final three of their species to prepare for their lifelike sculpture.
“Basically this species is extinct, so we felt like this was the most important thing that we had to do right now,” Gillie explained. “And we haven’t, unfortunately, been able to save this species but we’re hoping now that all the other species…that are critically endangered, maybe we can do something to stop the poaching.”
The artists partnered with app developers at INDE to create an informative, augmented reality experience to accompany the statue. The app allows smartphone users to see a life-size, augmented reality version of one of the three last white rhinos. Using the app, you can watch a Rhino walk around and meander among the tourists and pedestrians on Astor Place.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Take a photo with Gillie and Marc’s sculpture and share it on social media with the hastag #GoodByeRhinos
- Write your goodbye message to Sudan, Najin and Fatu CLICK HERE
- Visit the App Store and download the app ‘INDE’ CLICK HERE
- Donate directly to Ol Pejeta Conservancy CLICK HERE
- Visit Africa to see the Rhinos through Intrepid’s trip CLICK HERE
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Please SHARE to raise awareness to the plight of the last remaining Northern White Rhinos ( and ALL Rhinos). Please SUBSCRIBE to receive news and updates to your inbox.