Last night, the lots went under the hammer at Christie’s auction house, raising a record-breaking amount for Tusk, surpassing any other fundraising event in the charity’s 28-year history. Every penny raised from the auction will go directly to support our conservation work across Africa, including our efforts to tackle rhino poaching and the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
The artworks were created by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists and generously donated to Tusk. Artists including Ronnie Wood, Zhang Huan, Harland Miller and Dave White painted the unique rhino sculptures that took to the streets of London over the summer to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino in Africa and the vital work Tusk is doing to protect them and other endangered species.
Zac Goldsmith MP, the IWT Conference Champion, opened the auction, highlighting the importance of funds raised in the fight to #endwildlifecrime, and to tackle rhino poaching. “We’re surrounded by these beautiful rhinos”, he said. “Well there are about 30,000 left in the wild, and we lost 7,000 in the last 10 years. The trouble with these numbers is that they’re slightly anaesthetic. After a while you just get used to these numbers, but if you stop to think about the individual numbers, it is appalling.”
Five of the rhino sculptures will make an appearance at this week’s IWT conference in London. The conference on 11 to 12 October 2018 will bring together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction. Zac spoke of how some “serious initiatives” will come out from the conference, including the creation of an Ivory Alliance, further commitments from individual countries to tackle IWT, and a very ambitious plan around the concept of wildlife corridors. He said, “I hope, as I know all of you do, that something really big emerges over the next couple of days, and I think it will, and I know it can.”
We are incredibly grateful for the support of our contributing artists, sponsors – particularly ISPS Handa, Land Rover and Pickfords – to Christie’s and auctioneer Hugh Edmeades, to the buyers, and to the project’s curator Chris Westbrook without whom the project would not have been possible.
Discover more about our conservation work and how the funds will be put to use: https://www.tusk.org/the-solutions/
Visit #TuskRhinoTrail for all the Tusk Rhino Trail news.
Tusk Rhino Trail website: www.tuskrhinotrail.com