Southern White Rhino Conservation Project

in partnership with Zoo Knoxville, an active member of Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited Species Survival Plan program

I have found it rewarding to engage with my local community through my work, such as Zoo Knoxville. The sole purpose of this project is to sell these works and create funds for their Species Survival Plan as well as for the International Rhino Foundation. The unique texture you see on these slab-built ceramic pieces are a print of the skin texture of a 5,200 pound, male, Southern white rhinoceros named Mondo. The skin texture molds were created back in 2016 using non-toxic alginate (the same material used to make teeth molds in dentistry). Since Mondo’s arrival at Zoo Knoxville in 1988, he successfully bred with the zoo’s female herd and sired nine calves, who have since been taken to other zoos as part of a Species Survival Plan. Mondo has sadly since passed away at the age of 44 but is able live on through his legacy and in these one-of-a-kind artworks. 

This project physically and metaphorically brings viewers closer to wildlife as they handle and “touch” a real rhino. These works are intended to expand upon one’s experience of the resident animals at Zoo Knoxville, view them less objectively and more individually, and give incentive to voice and act in defense of these animals.

50% of proceeds from each piece sold are evenly donated to Zoo Knoxville for their Species Survival Plan, and the International Rhino Foundation for their efforts on the ground to stop poaching. I made a very limited amount of pieces (about 60) from those molds, and from that I’ve donated over $700 with this project. Most of these have sold, but if you’re interested in any piece you see, please contact me directly to see availability. Online shop in the works…

There are current plans in place to create more pieces with including other individual rhinos as well as other species for further conservation efforts. Stay tuned!

Mondo was one of the most well-known and famous residents at Zoo Knoxville. He was known for his charismatic personality and curiosity towards visitors. Zoo President and CEO Lisa New said in remembrance,

“Mondo connected people with the plight of wild rhinos. His legacy lives on not only in his progeny, but also in all those who were touched by him to care about the survival of rhinos.”