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Vandals smash up Go! Rhinos in Southampton
THEY have been admired by thousands who have flocked to Southampton to enjoy the Go! Rhinos trail.
But now two of the life-sized rhino sculptures have been forced to leave the trail after vandals smashed a large hole in one and kicked in the head of another.
The vandals have left Marwell Wildlife with no option but to remove the two rhinos from public display as constant repairs means jeopardising the amount of money raised for charity when the sculptures go up for auction after the trail.
The first to be removed was Not a Target, from Houdwell Park, after a large hole was smashed into its back at some point over the bank holiday weekend.
The second rhino to be attacked was Cosmos Rhino, found in Watts Park, which is due to be removed after its head and horn were kicked in.
This is not the first time these particular rhinos have been targeted by vandals – they were two of five rhinos defaced within a week of the public art extravaganza going live in the city.
On that occasion Not a Target, sponsored by Greenspan Projects, was found with a small hole in it, which artist Mike Foyle was able to repair at the scene.
Cosmos, sponsored by Crest Nicholson, was the first to be damaged, when graffiti was discovered on both sides of it, but artist Drew Saunders was quickly called in to paint over it.
Unfortunately, this latest attack has left so much damage that Not a Target was removed on Monday and Cosmos will soon be taken away – and they may never return.
Organisers Marwell are now assessing the damage to the rhinos and could decide to keep them off the trail once they have been repaired.
Once the trail ends on September 22 the rhinos will be auctioned off and the money raised will be split between Marwell’s conservation work, the Rose Road Association and Wessex Heartbeat’s HIGH 5 Appeal.
Kirstie Mathieson, Go! Rhinos project manager, said: “Thank you to everyone who has reported the damage. We are devastated that a few people are spoiling the trail for the thousands who are out and about enjoying our fantastic rhino sculptures.
“It is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved in the project and particularly the artists Mike Foyle and Drew Saunders, who spent hours creating such wonderful sculptures.
“It’s shocking to think that anyone would want to damage something which will eventually raise vital funds for three local charities.”
If anyone has any information about the damage contact the Go! Rhinos team on 01962 777980.
• Don’t forget to send in your photographs for the Daily Echo’s Go! Rhinos photo competition, looking for the most imaginative ways to have your picture taken with one of the rhinos, without touching it.
The winning photo will win a Junior Experience worth £150, which gives one lucky youngster an unforgettable opportunity to be a zookeeper for the day.
The best of the rest will appear in a special souvenir supplement of photographs at the end of the trail.
Just email your photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name, address, contact telephone number and the names and ages of those in the picture, plus where they are from.
For terms and conditions visit dailyecho.co.uk/competitions.
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