Visitors to Astor Place in Manhattan can currently see this sculpture by artists Gillie and Marc Schattner, titled The Last Three. The artists wanted to draw attention to the plight of the Northern White Rhino. At the time that the sculpture was created, there were only three Northern White Rhino still alive in the entire world, two females (Najin and Fatu) and one male (Sudan). What makes this sculpture even more striking is that Sudan died less than a week after the sculpture was dedicated. The Northern White Rhino is virtually extinct, as both Najin and Fatu are sterile. (Although scientists are considering whether Sudan’s sperm could be used to artificially inseminate a Southern White Rhino.) The sculpture is a solemn reminder of the devastating effect humans have had – and still continue to have – on wildlife in Africa.
A few additional interesting facts about this sculpture: It was crowdfunded and is valued at $200,000. The sculpture was cast at a foundry in Thailand, and the three rhinos were actually put together on site at Astor Place. The entire sculpture weighs almost seven tons! The sculpture has also experienced some controversy, as not all art critics have been impressed with its design, and wildlife conservationists have expressed concerned that the artists’ expressed goal of raising money to support conservation hasn’t had entirely transparent results. Still, the sculpture makes one think!
Want to see this sculpture for yourself? It is currently located at Astor Place in Manhattan, near the Cooper Union. It is easily reached by public transportation. If traveling by subway, take the 6 train to Astor Place, or the R train to 8th Street.