THE BONDS between Dubbo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo were further reinforced on Friday with the unveiling of a statue of a Southern Black Rhino cow and calf outside the city’s visitor information centre.
The bronze sculpture, weighing more than a tonne, was one of three crafted by world-renowned, Sydney-based sculptors Marc and Gillian Schattner. It was sculpted as a philanthropic gesture to the zoo after the sudden and mysterious death of a number of white rhinoceros about 12 months ago.
The cost of the three sculptures - one bronze and the remaining two made from fibreglass - was $26,000 of which the council paid half.
The council also paid half of the $8000 transportation costs. The two fibreglass sculptures are being placed at the zoo and the Dubbo regional airport.
The zoo’s general manager Matt Fuller said the Schattners only needed the cost of the materials to be covered and the rest they provided gratis.
He said the rhino subjects were based on two females that are part of the zoo’s breeding program.
The cow was called Bokita which translated to fortunate while the calf Kofara symbolised happiness, Mr Fuller said.
He said the world’s populations of rhinoceros were under threat.
“There is an insatiable appetite for rhino horn on the Asian continent,” Mr Fuller said.
“The zoo was synonymous with rhino protection and now, so is Dubbo,” he said.
Dubbo’s mayor Cr Mathew Dickerson thanked the Schattners for their hard work.
He said daily traffic passing through Dubbo would be further enticed by the rhino sculptures and would attract more visitors to the zoo and the city.