Wild Baby White Rhino
This 3-month-old is a southern white rhino. It is very easy to distinguish her from a baby northern white rhino because there are no baby northern white rhinos in the entire world. She lives in a National Park in southern Africa where there is now a lot more protection for her. Poachers are wiping out rhinos all over the world, lusting after their horns which can get them a lot of money on the black market. Even though her grassland home is in a protected area there are still people coming in, searching for a rhino.
The white rhino is the second-largest land mammal in the world and is not actually white at all. Its name may have come from a misunderstanding of the Afrikaan’s name “weit” which means wide. White rhinos have a wide square lip whereas black rhinos have a pointed upper lip, so the name could be in reference to their mouth. On the grassy plains of Africa, they use their wide lip to graze, sometimes in groups before finding a nice water hole to cool off in the mud.
There are two species of white rhino, the northern and southern. The southern rhino was thought to be extinct until the late 19th century when a small population was discovered in South Africa. With a lot of hard work and dedication, they were able to bring this species back from the brink where it is now classified as near threatened, a major conservation success story. The southern white rhino makes up 98.8% of all white rhino. The remaining 0.02% is the northern white rhino. There are only 2 left in the world, mother and daughter Najin and Fatu. They are under 24 hour guarded surveillance at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where they are still threatened by poachers.
White rhinos give birth to very large calves. Weighing between 40-65 kg, the babies are huge. The newborns are very unsteady for the first few days and completely reliant on their mothers until they are weaned which could be as old as 12 months. The mother is very protective of her calf. When threatened, the baby will run towards its other who will passionately defend it, meaning that young rhinos are very rarely attacked. When the mother is about to give birth to her next calf she will chase off her current baby to prepare.
Rhinos have to deal with a great many things when it comes to survival. Africa is a harsh place to call home, with extreme temperatures, great predators, and the worst of them all, poachers. Rhinos are especially targeted for their horns which are sold on the black market at a staggering price, as much as the price of gold in weight. They are used for traditional medicines in China and Vietnam where they are thought to possess therapeutic properties. Being made from keratin, the same material as our hair and fingernails, this is not true. Even so, the market is still surging.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/