DEFRA Rhino Scultpure
A GOVERNMENTAL PARTNERSHIP TO EDUCATE AGAINST POACHING.
Nicknamed ‘ the tank on legs’ and ‘Africa’s armoured giant’, the Rhino is loved by many who view them in the wild, however, despite being one of the largest animals in the African environment, they cannot defend themselves from poachers who seek and kill them for their horns. Rhino poaching has soared massively within the last decade due to demands, particularly from Vietnam, as their high price and rarity make them a status symbol amongst the middle and upper classes in Asia. Nearly 900 Rhinos are killed each year by crime syndicates and well-organised poachers and their horns and bodies feed directly into the black market and turned into items such as handicrafts, jewellery and trophies of illegal sport hunting.
Affected by this illegal wildlife trade, Rhinos have been assessed and regarded as an animal which needs to be on the ‘Critically Endangered’ list, with just 3,600 remaining in their natural habitat. As one of the ‘big five’, rhinos play a crucial part in the African land. Not only is their large presence an income for tourism but their large size and mouths enable them to shape the landscape and aid other animals and humans in retaining natural resources of food through grazing.
Whilst visiting the Kenyan Bush, Owen Paterson, M.P. of North Shropshire, learnt about the devastating effects of the illegal wildlife trade, in particular how African Rhinos would be extinct within the next decade if people were not made aware of the need to eradicate illegal poaching. Mr Paterson spoke of this issue on a visit to The British Ironwork Centre, who, in an effort to offer assistance with sculptor Alfie Bradley, set to work creating a Rhino head sculpture. The Rhino head was created using metal and took over four weeks to create. The sculpture currently sits within the reception of DEFRA’s (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) London Headquarters, helping to remind staff and visitors of the horrors of illegal wildlife trading and how support can help save animals, especially Rhinos, from extinction.