FAQs

Have a few questions? Have a read through the FAQs below and feel free to contact us should you not find what you're looking for!


  • Who?

    This project is based around the region’s largest and best-known zoo, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, which is also a registered charity, but the Zoo is pleased to work with the many partners needed to make such a big idea work, including:

    • Wild in Art – our main event partner
    • Torbay Council
    • Exeter City Council
  • Why?

    This major public outreach project celebrates over 90 years of conservation and education at Paignton Zoo and follows on from the success of The Great Gorillas Project in 2013. The aim of the project is to raise awareness about the work of the Zoo, raise money for rhino conservation and celebrate the Zoo’s unique place in the community.

  • Why rhinos?

    Rhinos have been an integral part of the Zoo’s collection for many years and we wanted to raise awareness of their plight and the conservation work we are doing. In Africa we have helped to protect black and white rhino in Zimbabwe and supported the reintroduction of black rhino to Malawi, where they had become extinct in the 1980s. The models provided a stunning three-dimensional canvas for artists to express their creativity. The finished works of art will look spectacular when out in our community.

  • Where?

    The rhinos will be on show at businesses, shops, offices, schools, colleges and public spaces across Exeter and the English Riviera.

  • When?

    • March 2015 – Project launch
    • May 2015 – Schools and Community Programme launch
    • November 2015 – Call for artist submissions
    • January 2016 – Deadline for artist submissions
    • March 2016 – Artists’ public painting space opens
    • July 2016 – The Great Big Rhino Trail launch event
    • July to October 2016 – 10-week public art trail
    • November 2016 – Charity fundraising auction at the Riviera International Centre, Torquay
  • Rhino models – the vital statistics

    • The sculptures are designed by Christopher Wilkinson, Creative Director at Wild in Art
    • The full size models are 134cm high x 225cm long x 80cm wide
    • They weigh around 40 kilos without their concrete plinth
    • They are made of fibre-glass with steel reinforcement
    • The smaller models are 70cm high x 122 long x 40cm wide
  • For the technically-minded

    They are manufactured using a mixture of Class 2 fire retardant laminating resin and chopped roving fibreglass over an initial brushed-on layer of polyester gel coat. Each sculpture is finished with a primer and is ready to paint.

  • Can they stay outside?

    Yes, they are designed, decorated and varnished with this in mind. They will be fixed to solid concrete bases.

  • Who will benefit?

    The funds raised through this project will be used by Paignton Zoo to support rhino conservation projects. The funds will be channelled through Save the Rhino International, a UK-based NGO, and used to support anti-poaching patrols around the rhino reserves; for habitat restoration on Java to increase the area available for the rhinos; and support for the intensively managed captive population of Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia which had its first breeding success in 2013.

  • Javan and Sumatran rhinos

    The Great Big Rhino Project will enable Paignton Zoo to continue its vital conservation and education work, and in addition it is also helping to save the Javan and Sumatran rhinos from extinction, arguably the two large mammals most threatened mammals on this planet. The former is now found in just a single population on the island of Java, where 50-60 animals persist. The latter is now scattered across half a dozen small populations across Indonesia and Malaysia, arguably none of which is viable in the long term without massive international help. The reason of their demise is entirely due to illegal poaching for their horns.

  • The real rhinos of Paignton Zoo

    Paignton Zoo is home to two black rhinos – Manyara (male) and Sita (female). Click here for more information.

  • What?

    A host of life-size model rhinos will be sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Exeter and the English Riviera.

    The Great Big Rhino Project is an amazing mix of art, education, conservation and public engagement, with fantastic opportunities for businesses, charities and local communities.

Great Big Rhinos finish on a high

Great Big Rhinos finish on a high

The Great Big Rhino Project has come to an end with a successful charity auction that raised £123,000.

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