400 guests enjoyed drinks at Church House in Westminster before the start of the main event - an opportunity to chat with fellow wildlife enthusiasts and enjoy the many exhibits on display, including artwork, jewellery, books and tableware (all available in our online shop).
With the atmosphere at fever pitch, the audience settled into the auditorium to enjoy the evening’s talks and presentations (watch videos of all talks at the bottom of this page). Guests were welcomed by Helping Rhinos CEO Simon Jones who gave an insightful background to the rhino crisis, revealed the rise in annual poaching numbers, launched the seven saviours of rhino (click here read more on what they are) and proclaimed that only by working together with our new pillars of conservation to Collaborate, Empower and Sustain will we maximise efforts to secure the rhino and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
"Don't look back in regret, it's time to change the way we think about wildlife conservation" Simon Jones
Simon was followed by Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy who exclusively revealed plans for the future of the Northern White Rhino and how they’ll be honouring Sudan’s legacy. He spoke about the continued success of their black rhino breeding programme and how they’re seeking more land to increase the number of rhinos that can live on the conservancy. Richard also spoke about how only by mainstreaming conservation and getting more local people involved, will we create new models for conservation that cater for the needs of humans while still providing space for wildlife.
"We aim to become an engine for sustainable development" Richard Vigne
Animals Saving Animals’ Daryll Pleasants explained how his unique and dedicated team of specially trained dogs patrol, track and apprehend poachers, day and night. Their ability to achieve this triple anti-poaching role is unique and Daryll showed what a remarkable part these dogs have to play in protecting the rhino. There was much joy when surprise guest, APU dog Ceaser, appeared on stage in a live demo where Helping Rhinos CEO Simon Jones turned ‘poacher’ and was apprehended by this hero dog.
"Change doesn't happen through belief and principles, it happens through conscious action" Daryll Pleasants
Closing the talks was TV Vet Steve Leonard (Operation Wild, Safari Vet School, Nature’s Newborns, Trust Me I’m a Vet). Steve told us that while rhinos are formidable creatures, they are not invincible. He encouraged us to champion rhinos and other species by using our passion for wildlife to do all we can to save them. It was a rousing final talk which left us in no doubt that we must put all our efforts into ensuring rhinos stay in the wild for many generations to come.
"Mobile vet units are an essential part of rhino conservation" Steve Leonard
Feeling full of positivity after the uplifting talks, the audience was ready for TV's Jonty Hearnden to take to the stage to host a very enjoyable auction. The lots included a fantastic trip to Kenya from Asilia Safaris, the chance to name a black rhino calf at Ol Pejeta and the stunning original artwork by Karen Laurence-Rowe called ‘The Accuser’. The last lot of the evening, Karen's painting, had all guests excited for what proved to be an intense round of bidding which concluded at an amazing £18,000.
THANK YOU to everyone who placed bids in the auction and to those who donated the wonderful items to be sold. Congratulations to all the winning bidders.
There are just a few signed limited edition prints of 'The Accuser’ by Karen Laurence-Rowe available for sale at the special event price of £290. The print dimensions are 750mm x 590mm.
A huge THANK YOU to our sponsors, supporters and everyone who came along to Shades of Grey: Seven Saviours of Black and White Rhino – we hope you had a fantastic evening and really appreciate you playing your part in securing and protecting the iconic rhino. See below for the highlights of the evening with some stunning photos and you can watch to the speakers’ talks in the event video.