Image courtesy Gillie and Marc

On March 15, Astor Place will become home to The Last Three, the world’s tallest rhino sculpture that’s being created by New York and Sydney-based contemporary art duo, Gillie and Marc Schattner. The work aims to bring awareness to wildlife conservation and encourage the global community to end rhino horn sales.

After years of false belief in their medicinal benefits, the horns of Northern White Rhinos are worth more than gold and have caused these rare animals to be pushed to the brink of extinction. There are now only three Northern White Rhinos left in the world, and they aren’t able to reproduce. Gillie and Marc’s life-size, bronze statue, which will stand 17-feet-high when constructed, is a recreation of this final family: a male, Sudan, and two females, Najin and Fatu, who all live in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya.

In order to ensure that this species won’t die in vain, Gillie and Marc have raised over AUS $54,000 on Kickstarter to bring their sculpture to New York City. By collaborating with Nat Geo WILD, NYC DOT Art, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, INDE, Intrepid Travel, and The Thomas Collective, the artists have been successful in planning the first launch of The Last Three. Following the New York City debut, Gillie and Marc hope to show their sculpture at other cities across the world.

Image courtesy Gillie & Marc Goodbye Rhinos: Goodbye Planet Earth  

Image courtesy Gillie and Marc

This is by far the biggest and most daunting project the award-winning monumental sculpture artists have ever undertaken,” a press release for the project states. After visiting the Ol Pejeta Conservancy last year, the artistic duo has been working continuously to mobilize campaigns focused on bringing an end to rhino poaching. The creation of the sculpture alone has been in the works for the past year.

Image courtesy Gillie and Marc

As part of the project, the artists are also inviting the public to say their final goodbyes to the rhinos by writing goodbye messages, which will ultimately double as a petition. Once enough signatures are collected, the petition will be taken to U.N. to enforce anti-poaching laws. Those interested can participate by visiting Gillie and Marc’s website, making a donation or sharing a photo with the hashtag #goodbyerhinos. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy has also set up a donation page in honor of the sculpture to help protect the Northern White Rhinos and fund an IVF program. Through their work, Gillie and Marc hope to mobilize the global community to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Next, read more about the Largest Rhino Sculpture in the World at Astor Place in NYC and check out other work from Gillie and Marc.