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Great Big Rhino Project - The Story of Dino Rhino

Throughout 2016, TTPL has been on a journey along with a range of local businesses together supporting Paignton Zoo’s Great Big Rhino Project.

It all started when we decided to sponsor one of 42 rhino sculptures scattered across Torbay and Exeter. The next step was pairing with a brilliant local artist, the fantastic Jess Miller, who had the slightly daunting task of intricately painting the life-sized rhino model.

Work started on ‘Dino Rhino’ at the beginning of March and over the space of a fortnight, Jess painstakingly painted the simply stunning prehistoric animal-inspired design. The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey became a makeshift rhino painting studio, where visitors could catch a glimpse of the summer’s rhino trail.




Next came an evening of celebration and collaboration at Artizan Gallery. Sponsors, supporters and zoo representatives gathered to raise money and awareness for Paignton Zoo’s conservation work with Save the Rhino International to help protect Critically Endangered Javan and Sumatran rhinos – there are fewer than 100 of each species left in the world.

The Rhino models were finally unveiled to the public in style, travelling from Exeter to Paignton Zoo as part of the Great Big Rhino Road Trip on 9th July. All 42 rhinos were paraded to the public on the back of 85 tonne lorries. It was great to see former student Franziska at the event, having previously been involved with the concept of rhino Finding Faru, while on her work placement.




The selection of magnificent rhinos came alive on 30th July and we were delighted to have Dino Rhino displayed outside Exeter Cathedral. Since Dino Rhino moved to his new home, some brilliant pictures have been tagged on Dino Rhino’s very own twitter account, @DevonDinoRhino and rhinos have been busy interacting with each other.

Dino Rhino also had a visit from TTPL students as part of a trail challenge that was hotly contested! Students also decorated 20 mini rhinos to celebrate 20 years of TTPL, although a few are already sadly extinct due to an encounter with a staff pet.




The final chapter of the Great Big Rhino Project was an incredible fundraising effort at The Great Big Rhino Auction, held at the Rivera Centre on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

38 rhinos were sold on the night, including the TTPL-sponsored Dino Rhino. We were absolutely blown away by people’s generosity and the sale of Dino Rhino fetched a fantastic £2400. It was also good to see Big Wave Media sponsored rhino Finding Faru go for a whopping £3400. Former TTPL student Franzi was on work placement with Big Wave when the design idea was conceived – well done to all involved. The biggest surprise of the night was the sale of Hulk-O-Rhino. A long and exciting bidding war unfolded and the final price was an amazing £13,500!

The total sum raised from the rhino sales was a simply staggering £123,000. It’s been a privilege being part of such a fantastic project. We’ve all been very touched by the collaboration and partnership shown between businesses and individuals to raise money for such a fantastic cause through such a brilliant idea.