Excitement is growing in the business community – the rhinos are coming.

Following on from Paignton Zoo’s successful Great Gorillas Project of 2013, The Great Big Rhino Project promises to be bigger and better. The project launches to potential sponsors at Paignton Zoo on Tuesday 10th March and at Exeter Castle on Thursday 12th March.

Pippa Craddock, Director of Marketing & Development at Paignton Zoo, said: “The theme is celebration, conservation, collaboration. We’re bringing together business, conservation and public art.”

Many businesses involved with Great Gorillas have already signed up for the Great Big Rhinos. The main event partner is Wild in Art, while Torbay Council and Exeter City Council are also partners.

The Torquay Herald Express, the Exeter Express & Echo, Palm FM and Radio Exe have all added their support, as have Plastic Surgeon Fine Finishers and ESW, who are the project’s official AV partner. The Riviera International Centre in Torquay will be auction partners, hosting the grand finale charity auction.

“Our founding sponsors are the National Trust, the Guildhall Shopping Centre in Exeter and Stagecoach South West, who are sponsoring the trail map.”

Pippa is aiming to put 40 dazzling rhinos on the streets of Exeter and the English Riviera in the summer of 2016. “There is a demand for us to do this, there’s grassroots energy and a real desire to be part of it. Businesses that missed out last time have a chance to be part of something quite amazing!”

After launching the project to sponsors and partners in March the Zoo – a registered charity - will roll it out to schools and community groups in May. In November there will be a call for artists and designs, in January 2016 sponsors will choose the design for their Great Big Rhino and in March 2016 painting will begin.

The Great Big Rhino Trail, covering Exeter and the English Riviera, will run from 30th July to 9th October 2016. A last chance to see all the rhinos together will come in October 2016 with the Goodbye Great Big Rhinos at Paignton Zoo. Finally, in November 2016, The Great Big Rhino Charity Auction will take place at the Riviera International Centre.

The Great Big Rhino Project is a celebration of over 90 years of conservation and education at Paignton Zoo, aimed at engaging communities with a mass exhibition of public art to raise awareness and funds to help Critically Endangered rhinos.

“The Great Big Rhino Project will showcase local creativity, engender civic pride, contribute to the cultural buzz of the area, stimulate the economy and generate brand awareness for sponsors.” Money raised will be channelled through Paignton Zoo and Save the Rhino International.

Rhinos have been around for 40 million years. There are five species: black, white, greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran. All of these are threatened with extinction – three are Critically Endangered as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). This means that they will not survive without massive and urgent action.

Follow The Great Big Rhino Project on Twitter @Greatbigrhinos, hashtag #greatbigrhinos.

Quotes So much to see, beautifully laid out and loads of interesting information on all the animals. Quotes