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Endangered faeces

Celebs go wild for gold-leafed rhino dung to raise funds for African conservation
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Simon Cowell with a white rhino and its gilded dung

In a world first, a gilded rhino dropping is being auctioned by the Cotswold Wildlife Park, attracting bids from a famous music mogul and successful business people.

Simon Cowell generously placed the opening bid at £2,500, but has since been outbid by British impact investor and philanthropist Nick Maughan.

There has been even more interest in the rhino dropping following Maughan’s offer, with the current bid standing at £5,050.

Simon Cowell supports the rhinos

Cowell was pictured with the golden dung last month after visiting the wildlife park to view the unique lot and to meet the crash of rhinos.

The dropping, which came from one of the park’s rhino calves, has been covered with 23.75 karat Italian gold leaf by professional gilder JoJo Hull, and will be up for auction throughout August to celebrate ‘Rhino Month’ at the Park.

All proceeds from the auction will go to the African conservation charity Tusk, to support its work with wildlife and communities across Africa.

Golden balls – and dung

This isn’t the first time celebrities have shown an interest in the Park’s rhino dung.

David Beckham and his daughter Harper also visited Cotswold Wildlife Park and got stuck in to looking after the animals, including the mucky jobs like cleaning out the enclosures.

Harper was seen petting the rhinos and holding up a large lump of dung, with David joking that it is a ‘nice little gift for mummy’.

The pair received a varnished piece of rhino dung from the head keeper to take back as a souvenir.

Perhaps the Beckhams will put in a bid on the gold dropping to expand their collection and add more ‘Golden Balls’ to the family!

Protecting white rhinos

White rhinos have been a conservation success story over the last 120 years.

At the turn of the 20th century their numbers were less than one hundred, but today it is believed there are 15,000 white rhinos, mostly living in South Africa.

Yet the species is still under threat; poaching in South Africa, in particular, remains a major threat and 231 rhino have already been lost in the first six months of this year alone. In the last decade 9,396 have been lost to poaching.

At the Cotswold Wildlife Park, there has been a total of nine breeding successes in the last decade, helping to form a safety net for this wonderful species and to maximise the chances of a viable breeding population in captivity.

The park has raised over £120,000 for wildlife conservation in Africa in the last 10 years, working closely with Tusk to protect Africa’s many threatened species.

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