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The Great Big Rhino Project has come to an end with a successful charity auction that raised £123,000.

The summer-long project, organised by Paignton Zoo, saw a free public art trail of 40 life-size painted rhinos dotted around Exeter and the English Riviera. Thousands of people spent the summer searching out the dazzling artworks.

Now, 39 of the rhinos have been auctioned to raise money for rhino conservation.

The highlight of the evening came when a bidding war broke out over Hulk-O-Rhino, painted by Jenny Leonard and sponsored by Inter-Line Building Supplies. This eventually sold for £13,500 – ten times the price of some of the other rhinos.

The final figure for the project surplus will be known once costs are taken into account. In 2013, the Great Gorillas Project made a surplus of £30,000.

Paignton Zoo’s Phil Knowling said: “We’d like to thank all our partners, artists and sponsors, everyone who followed the trail so enthusiastically and everyone who attended the auction. There was a great atmosphere and a real buzz. The figure is truly amazing!”

The grand charity auction took place at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay on Thursday 3rd November. The surplus from the project will be used by Paignton Zoo to support Javan and Sumatran rhino conservation via Save the Rhino International.

Quotes An awesome experience. The amount of free space given to the animals was very impressive Quotes Review