Herd of life-size elephant sculptures displayed outside Buckingham Palace

·2-min read
Photo credit: Coexistence campaign
Photo credit: Coexistence campaign

A stunning herd of life-sized elephant sculptures went on display outside Buckingham Palace this weekend to champion the co-existence of humans and animals.

The 100 Asian elephants, which are the creation of the charity Elephant Family, co-founded by the Duchess of Cornwall's late brother Mark Shand, were handcrafted by communities in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu who live in close proximity to the large land mammals.

The organisation's CoExistence campaign is a response to "the increasing overlap between the human and animal world, which is in part responsible for the spread of deadly zoonotic diseases". It aims to call attention to how many elephants now live in human-dominated landscapes and raise awareness of how we can better coexist with the animals in our habitat.

Photo credit: Coexistence campaign
Photo credit: Coexistence campaign

After the parade in front of the Mall, the elephants are due to be put on display in selected London parks before going on sale for between £6,000 for a calf and £30,000 for a fully grown tusker, ITV reports. All the proceeds will go to the work of Elephant Family, including securement of wildlife corridors to ensure safe movement for animals and people, the expansion of national parks and the protection of indigenous and tribal knowledge.

Each elephant sculpture is created from lantana, an invasive weed whose removal from protected areas benefits wildlife.

Camilla's late brother Mark Shand, who died suddenly from a head injury sustained during a fall in 2014, founded the charity in 2002.

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Elephant Family Trustee Ruth Ganesh told Town and Country: "What we're looking at really is something that we [Mark and I] dreamed up together many, many years ago. It feels great to know that more than anything this is what Mark wanted to do, he wanted to evoke through an exhibition the sense of awe and wonder that you feel when you’re actually with a real elephant. He believed that if we could do that then all the support in the world would follow."

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