Hippo Wild Ride
Dimensions 1.7 x 2.7 x 1.2 M ( H*L*W ) 500kg
Hippo Wild Ride is part of Gillie and Marc's Love The Last Project.
Love The Last is a social movement driven by public art to raise awareness, funds and support for some of the world’s most endangered species. Monumental artists, Gillie and Marc, want to create sculptures all around the world that tell the stories of these endangered species to drive positive change and ensure these animals don’t leave us forever.
With an estimated 54% of us living in urban environments, it is easy to forget that we share our world with a wide variety of unique creatures with lives just as important as our own. It is also easy to forget that many of these animals are facing overwhelming habitat loss due to increasing human population, illegal hunting and climate change.
By bringing these animals into urban environments it sends a message that is hard to ignore. The artists are committed to making robust, eye-catching artworks that are designed to be touched, climbed on and photographed with. When people interact with the artwork it is the first step towards loving these animals and if people can love these endangered animals they can begin to care for them and act now to stop their extinction.
The Hippo that Gillie and Marc are riding is based off Kuchek.
Named after conservationist Karen Paolillo’s childhood pony, Kuchek is a male hippo born in 2001 and in Paolillo’s professional and personal opinion, is a very special animal.
As male hippos draw to maturity they are usually driven out by their family to make way for future calves and as not to spar with the dominant bull. Kuchek however, refused to leave and stayed with his family no matter how much they fought him (fighting is normal hippo behaviour). In her 28 years of conservation work, Paolillo has only seen this behaviour in bull hippos twice!
At the age of 13, Kuchek’s parents were gone and he is now in charge of his own family as the father of four calves. Considered by the Turgwe Hippo Trust team as the most photogenic hippo, Kuchek is lighter than the other hippos and has a hairier head.