Stunning new model graces zoo 'catwalk'
Thursday 5 June 2008
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is home to hundreds of live species, but for the first time it is looking after an enormous ‘animal’ made entirely from sand.
The giant, 7m x 4m sand sculpture is a two-sided dramatic depiction of a cheetah. It has been created over the past two weeks by sculptor Jamie Wardley, who travels internationally to create works of art, but this is his first time sculpting in a zoo.
Already proving an eye-catching draw to the public, the sculpture – depicting on one side a cheetah catching its prey and on the other a female cheetah with her cubs – is on view to visitors to the zoo.
It can be seen on the ‘catwalk’ between the Lions of the Serengeti enclosure and the zoo’s new Cheetah Rock exhibit.
Whilst catching the eye of the watching lions, the sculpture also has a serious side. The use of sand – all 15 tonnes obtained from a local quarry – represents the arid, dry habitat of the North African cheetah.
The fragility of sculpting a cheetah in sand reflects the fragile hold the cheetah has on life in the wild. It is hoped the sculpture will stand for at least three months.
Cheetah Rock, home to six North African cheetah, includes a rock look-out, watering holes and paddocks. Visitors can fast track their knowledge of a cheetah and test their acceleration speed on a purpose-built running strip.
The exhibit also includes a display safari Land Rover, depicting real life cheetah conservation activities in the African savannah.
Watch the sand sculpture being made in this time-lapse video: