Operation Rhino Drop


It’s not every day you spot a three-metre, 100-kilogram rhino cruising down the highway on the back of a trailer.

But that’s the sight motorists between Melbourne and Adelaide were treated to recently, when ‘Hope’ the rhino makes the 800-kilometre interstate journey.

The impressive corten steel sculpture is the work of award-winning Melbourne artist Matt Hill, who is donating the piece to the Australian Rhino Project.

The Australian Rhino Project aims to help protect the African rhinoceros from extinction by establishing a breeding herd of rhinos in Australia with a dedicated open plain facility at South Australia’s Monarto Zoo.

At the current rate of poaching – driven largely by the market for rhino horn in Asia – rhinos are set to become extinct within a decade.

Mr Hill will transported Hope from his home on the peninsula to Adelaide Zoo for the Zoos South Australia Rhino Gala where the piece is being auctioned.

The metal fabricator says when he first learned about the dire state of rhino poaching in Africa, he was shocked and stirred to action.

“Rhino poaching has reached crisis levels and it is so sad to think that we could soon lose these majestic creatures altogether.

“I fully believe in and support the amazing work being done by the Australian Rhino Project.

“It is incredible to see different countries working together in a collective bid to ensure the survival of the species – it really does give hope.”

The Australian Rhino Project aims to bring 35 white rhinoceros to Australia, where they can breed in safety, far from the clutches of poachers.

It is an ambitious goal, with a cost of $70,000 for each rhino relocated from South Africa.

Funds raised at the gala dinner will go towards the construction of a $600,000 Rhino Management Centre at Monarto Zoo.

Sarah Dennis, project manager for the Australian Rhino Project, said it was an honour to have Mr Hill’s sculpture donated to the cause.

“The Australian Rhino Project was really overwhelmed with the generosity of Matt to donate his beautiful rhino sculpture and we are truly grateful for his support.”



First published in Peninsula Essence – March 2018