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British sculptor aids rhino conservation at Ol Pejeta

British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner feeds a rhino at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County on July 1, 2013 after meeting the conservancy’s management over animal poaching. Photo/FILE
British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner feeds a rhino at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County on July 1, 2013 after meeting the conservancy’s management over animal poaching. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Lakipia is the latest beneficiary of British artist Camilla Le May’s charity.

Last week, she auctioned her latest bronze and a silver brooch at the “Save the Rhino Heroes Dinner” in London.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s chief executive officer Richard Vigne said money from the auction would go to boosting security at the conservancy.

“On Wednesday this week, an opportunity to place advance bids and support the conservancy’s rhino security team by buying a donated bronze sculpture or silver rhino brooch was placed, and we received quite a good number of willing individuals,” says Mr Vigne.

The event was held at ZSL Regents Park, London, and the money will be used to buy equipment for the new tracker dog team at Ol Pejeta.

Ms Le May devoted much of this year to sculpting rhino in order to raise money for their protection through the sales of her works.

Her passion for the cause was inspired by and is in memory of a friend and supporter of her work, Anna Merz, who died suddenly in April, 2013.

Ms Merz’s significant contribution to rhino conservation was remembered in a tribute at the Save the Rhino Heroes Dinner, which led to Ms Le May’s new work to be first auctioned at the event.

“The sculptures from Camilla’s recent residency at Ol Pejeta and Lewa Wildlife conservancies this year are rather unusual as they are not generic examples of a species but are portraits of specific individuals, sculpted from life,” says Mr Vigne.

One of her pieces titled ‘‘Rosie and MC sleeping with oxpeckers chatting,’’ shows the strong bond among white rhinos.

Ms Le May was interested by two rhinos which she christened “Rosie” and MC”.

The two became subjects as they were blocking the road one day and Ms Le May was particularly moved by the close relationship the two had.

Says Ms Le May: “They are inseparable, I never saw them apart, they often mirrored each other’s movements and lay so close together when sleeping that they would breathe into each other’s nostrils with horns crossed. I also noticed clear differences in personality. Seeing the unexpected close bond between these two girlfriends has strengthened my resolve to give back as much as I can to help keep these very special and vulnerable creatures safe.”

Mr Vigne said the silver brooch was inspired by a magnificent male black rhino on Solio Ranch and is the first silver Ms Le May has cast and if requested can be hallmarked.

Her bronzes have been exhibited by established galleries since 2000 and bought by private collectors worldwide, with a recent work acquired for a Royal collection overseas.

Her work was recognised early on, winning awards from the British Sporting Art Trust and the Society of Wildlife Artists and through auctions has raised around £30,000- for various charities.

Ms Le May’s new life size bronze of the Household Cavalry horse, Sefton, was unveiled early last month.

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