More than 40 giraffe sculptures will take to the streets in Edinburgh next year when Edinburgh Zoo’s Giraffe About Town trail is staged in Summer 2022.

In partnership with Wild in Art, who were behind the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) will display a tower of eight-foot-tall giraffe models in the city, helping people to recover after the pandemic and raising much needed funds for wildlife conservation.

Each sculpture will be designed and decorated by artists and communities to create the public art event, celebrating the capital’s heritage and cultural diversity. 

Edinburgh College of Art graduate Carolina Haraki PHOTO ©RZSS

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said: “Following a wonderful welcome for our real-life giraffes in their new hilltop home at Edinburgh Zoo, we now want to share these majestic giants with the city of Edinburgh and visitors from around the UK and the world, through a stunning, family- friendly art trail.

“After the immense challenges we have all faced over the last year, Giraffe About Town will help local people and tourists fall in love with Edinburgh all over again by encouraging them to get out about town and explore these beautiful sculptures, while at the same time supporting the recovery of our wildlife conservation charity.” 

The 40 sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for RZSS. The closures due to the pandemic of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park cost the charity over £1.5 million.

“Raising funds to continue our work is incredibly important and we have been touched by the support we have received from animal lovers who are passionate about protecting wildlife,” said Field.

“Giraffe About Town is one way we can say thank you and bring a feelgood factor back to Edinburgh with something truly special. It is also a really exciting opportunity for businesses, organisations, artists, schools and whole communities to get involved.”

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said, “We are delighted to be working with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland to create this art trail for Edinburgh. Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone and we hope that businesses will recognize the cultural benefits of getting involved and sponsoring a giraffe as well as the positives for the local community.”

Edinburgh College of Art graduate Carolina Haraki PHOTO ©RZSS

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh Frank Ross said, “This imaginative art trail is sure to be a fantastic sight on the streets of the capital. 

“It will offer family-friendly fun and can help us all reconnect with the city, while promoting climate conversations and supporting the arts, a sector which has been hugely impacted by the pandemic. 

“This is an excellent way to get involved with a city-wide project that will support the zoo, the vital conservation work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and, in turn, protect endangered species around the world.”

To celebrate the launch, Giraffe About Town supporting partner Flock Creative worked with Edinburgh College of Art graduate Carolina Haraki to paint the first sculpture with a bright, colourful design inspired by the colours of Victoria Street and blossoming flowers representing rebirth, regrowth and recovery for the capital.

Edinburgh College of Art graduate Carolina Haraki painted the first giraffe PHOTO ©RZSS