London streets are soon to be invaded by 260 Asian Elephants.
The elephants are live sculptures actually, painted by renowned artists, fashion designers, and students of schools and colleges for the grand parade in order to raise awareness on the depleting number of the species.
The Asian elephants were once more than quarter of a million in number but today the population has decreased to something between 25,000 and 35,000. The reason for the depleting population again point towards humans who have been encroaching their habitats and blocked the migration routes.
Says Mark Shand of the Elephant Family explaining about the initiatives they have taken to preserve the species, "In India alone, an elephant is killed everyday - a person is killed and a person kills an elephant, so you've really got a war on. Elephants have had these migratory routes, basically like islands connecting parks between each other, they've got no where to move and people have encroached on them. So we negotiate with the people to move from the land. We buy the land, build them houses, off the corridors and give them exactly the same amount of arable land back and they're very glad to be doing this."
The parade is being done to raise charity for the preservation of elephants. Artists have come up with various innovative ideas to create the sculptures, like a black cab shaped elephant that even has lights blinking and also a cloud like elephant that moves around in the city to collect signatures.
Care has also been taken to prepare the sculptures and transport them in the most eco-friendly way.
"We're going to raise about one million pounds from selling these elephants but that's nothing against the target in the field," said Ruth Powys, director of the Elephant Family. "The target in the field is 50 million.... the only way we're even going to get close to that is collecting signatures from the public, which we can then go and lobby governments with."
After London the organizers hope to take the parade to cities like New York and Delhi in order to raise awareness across the globe. Here is more information on the Elephant Parade
Flickr photo by mckaysavage