London gears up for parade to highlight Asian elephants' plight

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London, May 1 (ANI): Come Monday morning and a herd of 258 fibreglass elephants - painted by artists from across the globe - would descend on the parks, streets and roads of Central London.

After standing on display for nearly a month-and-a-half the elephants will be moved to the Royal Chelsea Hospital on June 23.

There, the most ornate 30, painted by renowned artists and fashion designers, such as Peter Beard, Marc Quinn, Sasha Jeffrey, Tommy Hilfiger, Matthew Williamson and Alice Temperley, will go under the hammer at a dinner on June 30.

The remainder will be put up for sale three days later.

Adventurer and author Mark Shand hit upon the idea of the Elephant Parade, which aims to highlight the plight of Asian elephants.

"Every day in India, an elephant is killed by man, and so are people by an elephant," the Times quoted Shand, who rode his own elephant Tara across India in the late 1980s, as saying.

He added: "With the population increase there, there's been drastic erosion of elephants' natural habitat, forests, and their rites of passage between them. We've identified 80 of these routes, and the only way elephants will survive is if we can secure these links. But it's expensive - we've just had to spend 1 million pounds to establish one in Kerala that measures 6km by half a kilometre. Thirty families had to be moved, but they were delighted to be as they're now out of the elephants' path.

"We're a small team with a small budget who've survived on passion and the beautiful artwork on the elephants.

"I really think London will go berserk when people see them. Each one is totally different." (ANI)

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