Rhinos Charge Into Southampton

A herd of painted rhinos have charged into Southampton.

Marwell Wildlife has been working with local schools, businesses, artists and charities to bring a world-class public art exhibition to the streets and parks of Southampton. This giant exhibit, which lasts for ten weeks this summer, not only provides a free family event for locals and tourists but also aims to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos in the wild.

Kirstie Mathieson, Go! Rhinos project manager said:

"Planning for Go! Rhinos began over a year ago so we are all incredibly excited that the trail launches this week. Thanks to everyone who has supported this unique event.

"Go! Rhinos has brought together the whole community and not only highlights the plight of rhinos in the wild but boosts the city's economy and provides everyone with a great day out.

"Every rhino is simply stunning and we really hope people enjoy exploring the trail."

Go! Rhinos is a colourful display of 36 large fiberglass rhinos measuring in at 6ft long and 62 smaller rhinos, all of which will trail through the city from Saturday 13 July until 22 September. The large rhinos have been sponsored by local businesses from a range of industries.

The adorable smaller rhinos have been designed and painted by local schools, colleges and youth community groups. This not only got the creative juices of younger people flowing, with each rhinos uniquely designed and painted, but also got them thinking. Each group received an extensive educational pack and an outreach visit on rhinos and their conservation.

James Cretney, Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife said:

"People of all ages can take part and follow the trail for free and it's a great opportunity to get out in the fresh air and explore the city.

"The rhino sculptures really are a wonderful sight and we can't wait to show them off!"

One particular rhino will be sure to entertain, Erica the cyber rhino has been designed and built by staff and students in the Electronics and Computer Science department at the University of Southampton. Erica can respond to nearby people and even has her own WiFi network so the public can interact with her via smart phones, she can blink and adjust to focus on her fans, read QR codes, move her ears and even tweet.  

Erica will be on display in The Marlands shopping centre and the locations of the 97 other rhinos are detailed on one of the free trail maps and guide books which are available online or at local information points.

The installation of rhinos in the city centre took place earlier this week and members of HMS Collingwood, Williams Shipping, Southampton City Council and Wild in Art have assisted the team.

Once the trail is completed the rhinos will return to Marwell Zoo for a goodbye event in October before they are individually auctioned off. The money raised will not only support Marwell Wildlife's conservation work but will be donated to chosen charites The Rose Road Association and Wessex Heartbeat's HIGH 5 Appeal.   

Go! Rhinos in numbers:
- 144 bolts will be needed to install the rhinos
- 30 litres of varnish was required to make the rhinos waterproof
- 5,000+ school children were involved with the charge
- 50,0000 trail maps have been printed
- 9 trips by three trucks was required to move all the rhinos
- 40 members of the military helped move all the rhinos
- 20,160 kilos is  the total weight of all the large Rhinos on the plinths
- 5 rhino species are in need of help
- 2 is the number of rhinos we have at Marwell
- 36 Businesses joined the charge
- 1 Rhino themed roundabout
- 129.64m is the length of all the Rhinos lined up

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