Copper in the Arts

October 2018

San Antonio Zoo Raises Awareness of White Rhino Extinction with Iconic Bronze Sculpture

By Paul David

The San Antonio Zoo recently announced some very big news. Next February, the largest bronze rhino sculpture in the world, The Last Three, will make a journey towards its new permanent home at the  San Antonio Zoo. The arrival of the 17-foot tall bronze sculpture, currently installed in Brooklyn's Metro Tech Commons In New York City, coincides with the opening of its new and improved rhino habitat in early Spring 2019.

Courtesy Of San Antonio ZooThe Last Three, by Gillie and Marc Schattner. 

Courtesy Of San Antonio Zoo.

"San Antonio Zoo is honored to become the permanent new home of the world's largest rhino sculpture," said Tim Morrow, CEO and Executive Director of San Antonio Zoo. "As we have revised our vision and mission at San Antonio Zoo, a new focus on conservation has emerged. Our zoo's logo features two iconic animals, the giraffe and rhino which are both on the brink of extinction and both of which are species we are working to save. It is fitting to bring this iconic artwork to San Antonio as we open the rhino habitat, the latest in our ongoing expansion projects."

Installed in New York City by award-winning contemporary artists Gillie and Marc, the sculpture was unveiled four days before the death of Sudan, the world’s last male Northern white rhino, leaving only two females of the species left on the planet. The sculpture soon became a powerful memorial of these iconic animals, and residents and tourists flooded the sculpture, leaving commemorative flowers.

Created by Gillie and Marc Schattner, a collaborative artist couple known for public sculptures. The Last Three was created to establish a legacy of Sudan and his species through art, with the mission to spreading awareness and help save the rhino species from extinction.

"A year and a half ago, Gillie and I traveled to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya to visit Sudan, as well as his daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu," said Marc. "The experience shook us to the core, and we returned home vowing to dedicate the rest of our lives to protecting rhinos from extinction in the best way we know how – through our art."

While it is too late for Northern white rhinos, San Antonio Zoo plans to receive two female Southern white rhinos from other zoological facilities when the sculpture arrives, and a male shortly after that to begin a breeding program for the rhinos. The zoo hopes to re-establish its rhino breeding program. In 1972, San Antonio Zoo was the first zoo in North America to have a successful Southern white rhino birth and has had 19 successful rhino births since. Fittingly, zoo officials are thrilled to bring this iconic artwork, and more rhinos to San Antonio.

"We want The Last Three to celebrate all of the amazing people and organizations that drive positive change in wildlife conservation," says Gillie, "However, our goal is also to continue the efforts of San Antonio Zoo, and inspire generations to join the battle for rhino conservation."


San Antonio Zoo, 3903 N. St. Mary’s St., San Antonio, TX, (210) 734-7184

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