Some elephants have all the luck, they not only get to hobnob with royalty they also get to mingle with their aristocratic friends. But these elephants are unique in that they serve a special purpose in helping wild Asian elephants to live.
This herd of lantana elephants have been sharing an important message with the world that human-elephant conflict, in Asia and Africa, is very real yet humans and elephants can coexist as has been demonstrated by the Adivasi communities in India.
Elephant Family, the UK charity, has long endorsed, and successfully so, the idea of elephant corridors, giving our Asian elephants paths through areas that, having once been the elephants’ land or migratory paths, have now been flooded with humans or destroyed by human deeds such as deforestation. The cause for saving our elephants is real and urgent. And for the past 18 years Elephant Family has found imaginative ways to raise funds for that cause (don’t forget Elephant Parade!)
Through careful observation of real life Indian elephants “tribal craftsmen,”# in the mountainous region of Nilgiri, India have created these striking lantana elephants all the while proving that humans and real life elephants can peacefully coexist. These elephants are truly a labor of love. “Five years in the making” the elephant sculptures are crafted from an intrusive weed that mimics willow when used to cover a steel frame. The result is a life-size and life-like elephant!
…Which brings us back to royalty; as in ‘Where are these elephants now?’
Gloucestershire, England to be exact and what could be better than to be welcomed & placed amongst Prince Charles’ beloved wildflower meadow in the royal gardens of Highgrove.
As caretakers of five of the 125 touring elephants the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, Prince Charles’ wife and sister of the late Mark Shand, has taken on a monumental task. But, really, it is her labor of love in tribute to her brother.
To continue the legacy of her brother’s elephant charity, Elephant Family, and to help him posthumously realize his dream of helping Asian elephants and humans peacefully coexist* Camilla, who serves as ” joint royal president ” along with her husband The Prince of Wales, is definitely up for the task. And it never hurts to have well-connected friends, with vast estates, open their arms to even more members of this herd of delightful lantana elephants.
*Learn more about Mark Shand’s CoExistence campaign
Who Will Be Watching Over the Elephants?
Jilly Cooper, author, caretaker of 2 elephants
Lady Bathhurst, the chatelaine of Cirencester Park, watches over five elephants
Lord Rothschild, took in five elephants***
Annabel Elliot, a trustee of Elephant Family, took in three elephants as well
*** These elephants will hopefully be exhibited at the ‘winter walk’ at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. “…In support of the CoExistence charity a family of five Indian elephants – a tusker, matriarch, two male adolescents and a female calf will be found in Half Moon Walk in the Pleasure Grounds throughout the season”
So, they (the British Royals and their aristocratic friends) have all come together to create the “Cotswold Corridor”, their own elephant corridor of sorts. All of this fanfare for our Asian elephants. Wouldn’t Mark Shand have been proud!
Let’s follow the elephants, travel with them to understand their message then patiently wait for their next exhibition to begin.
The elephants had been scheduled to travel in a worldwide exhibition by The Real Elephants Collective (designers of the elephant sculptures), BUT the worldwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 brought that all to a standstill:
- Royal Chelsea Hospital, UK (five lantana elephants first displayed after arriving by ship from India)<>
- Elephants By the Sea 7 February 2019 South Beach, Fort Kochi, INDIA (inaugural event completed, details / video in part 2)
- Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, INDIA
- New Delhi, INDIA
- The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Parks, both in London, ENGLAND #
- Tour (in oversized trucks) of the United States of AMERICA ** “exhibitions will be held in historic sites”#
**This will culminate in the ultimate auction for the benefit of wild Asian elephants as Elephant Family helps to establish elephant corridors through which humans and elephants can learn to peaceably co-exist
How You Can Help: Donate to Elephant Family “Saving elephants is about being into things that are bigger than ourselves.”
Learn more about the elephant charity CoExistence
Elephant Spoken Here facebook
Nilgiri Mountains wiki
To be continued: Worldwide Exhibition of Lantana Sculpture Elephants, Meant to Raise Money for Asian Elephant Charity, Has Been Postponed Due to Pandemic But Hobnobbing With the British Royal Family As They Await Display in London Can’t Be All That Bad: Part 2
Images: by Hindu News, Prince Charles & Duchess of Cornwall Become Caretakers of Lantana Sculpture Elephants; by Kerala News, lantana elephant herd by water hole & by Daily Mail, the late Mark Shand and his beloved elephant Tara (more elephant photos from article at MailOnline as well)
“Now THAT’S what one calls herd immunity! Prince Charles and Camilla invite the Mail to Highgrove to see how glorious elephant sculptures can make her late brother Mark Shand’s last wishes come true” by Rebecca English, Royal Editor For The Daily Mail
# “101 lantana elephant models to trumpet biodiversity message” by Onmanorama Staff
<>”‘Lantana elephants’ set for world tour to spread message of conservation‘” by Onmanorama Staff