Gilbert, the the sculpture used to promote the upcoming Zany Zebra trail in Southampton this summer has been stolen in the time between 10pm last night and 4.15 am today.
Thieves struck over night stealing the sculpture which was being used to promote the art event.
Along with 149 other zebras, Gilbert was supposed to be a part of a free art trail across the city and has been used to visit the companies, organisations and schools that have signed up to take part.
He was ready to visit London Waterloo Station this morning to promote both the event and the Southampton region but at around 4am today the Marwell team discovered that he had been stolen from a truck that had been temporarily parked in the Bassett area of Southampton.
Security tags are planned to be added to all the sculptures next week to prevent the thefts in the future – unfortunately, Gilbert was taken before his tag could be installed.
The charity is now appealing to fans, followers and friends of Marwell for any information about Gilbert’s whereabouts and are desperate for his safe return.
Kirstie Mathieson, Project Manager of Marwell’s Zany Zebras said: “Gilbert’s theft is heartbreaking. He’s not only much loved by the Marwell team and local community, but also a beautiful work of art and flagship for Marwell’s Zany Zebras – an event which is certain to put Southampton on the map as a hot spot for tourists this summer. Marwell’s Zany Zebras is about bringing the community together and having a fantastic summer of fun whilst raising funds for our conservation programmes in Kenya, so it’s particularly upsetting that Gilbert has been targeted. Please help us find him.”
Once the trail has finished Gilbert was due to be auctioned to raise money for the valuable conservation work around Grevy Zebras in partnership with Marwell Zoo.
Hampshire police have confirmed that they have been informed of the theft and are investigating.
If anyone has any information email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01962 770503 or call Hampshire police on 101.
A social media campaign has also been launched with the hashtag #BringGilberthome