Thoughtful Rhino Animation (tRa) has dual nationality, having emerged from discussions between friends in England and South Africa. In England an inspirational talk held at the University of East London by writer, animator, director Richard Goleszowski was about to be the catalyst for a dramatic career change. As if the talk was not thrilling enough, it transpired that Richard had travelled to the event with Shaun the Sheep AND Bitzer! After this encounter the dye was cast – it was time to learn stop motion animation!
But what to animate?
A super enthusiastic and supportive best friend is a priceless gift. My best friend hails from South Africa and has a passion for ponderous pachyderms of the unicorn variety. Having spent years in the bush studying rhino behaviour, RhinoGayle immediately suggested that characters based on rhinos would be perfect. What’s more RhinoGayle had a further epiphany; these rhinos could have their adventures broadcast to the world on Twitter!
In 2016 @RoamingRhinos (RRs) took their first tentative steps into the world of social media. This was no coincidence. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) were meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa for the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) and the RRs had a thing or two to say about wildlife conservation. For the next few years RRs could be seen each week in a new adventure on #RhinoFriday on Twitter.
Thanks to the expertise of RhinoGayle @RoamingRhinos Twitter following grew and grew. As the suite of characters also grew the films covered issues of rhino conservation as well as some 101 fact files and informative messages about sustainability, tourism, ecology, illegal wildlife trade, and much more. The @RoamingRhinos also took a stand against misinformation by occasionally busting myths and ensuring their followers are equipped with accurate and up to date facts to share with their friends and families.
After an unavoidable hiatus the RRs are back. In 2021, having survived a difficult few years, rhinos, pangolins, and the rest of the gang are taking to Twitter once more. Additionally, in a moment of “if not now, then when?” the rhinos are featuring in a new activity book designed to be educational and fun. Keeping the project in the family the books are printed on paper made from elephant poop! Each activity book will be dedicated to a focal species and be totally hand made in Yorkshire, England.
Thoughtful Rhino Animation is the broader organisation providing a home to the RRs as well as The Little Commuter, Concerned Critters and The Adventures of Mr Max.
Thoughtful Rhino Animation’s self appointed Creative Director is making every effort not to have to go back to being employed by someone else and is working to make an income from the tRa project. Support a struggling artist here or buy her a coffee to keep the cold away.
@RoamingRhinos are expertly curated on Twitter by @RhinoGayle.