Herd community? Elephants show us how to coexist
LONDON, May 15 – A herd of life-size model elephants
be paraded through central London on
Saturday to proclaim the idea that humans
and wild animals can share space in this crowded world.
The 125 elephants, brought to London by the Elephant Family conservation group, are the work of indigenous people who live alongside real beasts in the Nilgiri Hills in southern India.
Organizers hope to highlight the need to coexist with wildlife after lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic slowed human activity and helped some endangered species recover.
It’s a matter of mutual survival, said Ruth Ganesh, the principal administrator of Elephant Family.
“Saving them is really saving ourselves,” she told Reuters.
After the parade through the mall, the model elephants will be on display in London parks – guarded by ex-Gurkhas – and will be on sale for $ 42,000 each to raise funds.
Elephant Family will use the money raised for conservation activities, such as planting crops for elephants to feed on the edges of farmland to distract them from food grown for humans.
He also works with WildEast, a charity that tries to return English farmland to its wild state to help reverse declining bird populations.
Sculptors made birds stand on elephants. Some will be on display at Sladmore Contemporary in London as part of an exhibition on coexistence in June and July with artist George Butler.
Until the lockdown, Butler documented war zones like Iraq and Syria through illustrations.
Lockdown focused on the conflict between man and nature. The result is depictions of elephants alongside London landmarks and two giant maps.
One shows areas where man and nature compete – bears in North America, for example. The other shows a successful coexistence, as between people and pachyderms from South India.