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Life-Sized Elephant Sculptures Take Over London To Promote Human-Wildlife Coexistence

It’s hardly possible to miss the sixty migrating elephants coursing between Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace in London’s Green Park. They are one of the eight herds of lumbering creatures roaming throughout the city as of June 14. These life-sized sculptures of the gentle giants are a part of a collaboration between two nonprofit organizations, Elephant Family and The Real Elephant Collective to promote coexistence between humans and elephants within the larger ecosystem.

The initiative, named “CoExistence“, has already installed nearly 100 life-sized elephant sculptures in London. These lantana elephants first began their onerous journey in India. There, the sculptures were crafted by hand by a community of indigenous people in the jungles of Tamil Nadu. They first migrated to London in early May, and they took their stand in the eyes of the public as of June 14.

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The aim of these sculpture installments is far greater than pleasing the eyes of passers-by. They are meant to carry a long-ignored message to the public – to change our ways of mercenary living and to “coexist” with wildlife and nature like we once used to.

Being the largest living land mammals on Earth, elephants entail large areas of space with ample amounts of food and water for their survival. Not so surprisingly, the overpopulation of humans around the world has impacted the natural habitats of these gentle giants. Furthermore, the growing human-elephant conflict due to habitat trespassing and habitat loss has led to a rapid decline in elephant populations. This is why it is more important than ever to draw the public’s attention to these animals’ predicament.

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Dr. Tarsh Thekaekara of The Real Elephant Collective described the CoExistence initiative as “a call to change the global conservation paradigm.” The campaign envisions to enliven the “human connection with nature”, “to celebrate all life forms around us by sharing space”, and “to encourage people to remember that they are of, and for nature”.

“We have the capacity to heal, grow, thrive, and support symbiotically with nature, as other species do.”

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He added a final note, “As these Lantana elephants travel around the world, they call on people to live well with nature around them, carrying the stories and knowledge of how they live with people.”

Funds raised by the CoExistence campaign are dedicated to formulate and initiate plans to allow people and wildlife to coexist in peace throughout India. Their plans involve popularizing values of tolerance to wildlife, designing technological solutions to incorporate both animals and people in safe shared space, launching procedures to ensure the safety of animals when crossing roads and railways, and several other far-reaching measures.

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On top of the sculptures, a compilation of artworks by the renowned artist George Butler was also displayed in the – Sladmore Contemporary during the exhibition. The artworks underline the very theme of the CoExistence campaign – human-wildlife coexistence.

Butler shared with MyModernMet, “CoExistence is confirmation of a moment when society realized they had to do more. And the realization that this is an issue bigger than ourselves, bigger than individuals, and indeed bigger than the human race, for the isolated and often solitary role of an illustrator that is a great relief to know those feelings are shared!”

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If you are willing to support this worthy cause, visit CoExistence’s website where you can donatevolunteer, or purchase sculptures for yourself.

Elephant Family: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
The Real Elephant Collective: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
CoExistence: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

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