On 4th December a herd of 21 elephants will begin to march down Marble Arch. That they are bronze and immobile is hardly the point. The sculpture is the largest such depiction of an elephant herd in the world and is intended to draw attention to the plight of this species that could be extinct on current trends by 2040.
Each elephant in the sculpture is modelled after a real orphaned animal currently in the care of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Left behind by poachers and other sources of human-wildlife conflict these animals have been raised by the trust in an effort to secure the future of the species. The sculpture was inspired by the artists’ visit to the Trust’s sanctuary and was fully self-funded.
The statues will be each unveiled by children as a symbolic reference to the linked future of both our species and the need for an ongoing commitment to preservation. The children, from local schools, will be accompanied by a number of celebrities including Peter Egan, the Downton Abbey actor, Stanley Johnson, the author and father of the Prime Minister, and Zac Goldsmith, former Tory candidate for Mayor of London.
The herd will be displayed for 1 year so that as many as possible can see it and appreciate its message on the nature of the crisis these animals face. The unveiling ceremony will start at 10:30 and last for 45 minutes for those wishing to attend.