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Monday, 3 May 2010

Elephants on Parade

Venture into central London over the next few weeks and you may find yourself face to face with a brightly-painted baby elephant. More than 250 lifesized models have been installed throughout town as part of the Elephant Parade, which aims to highlight the plight of Asian Elephants. Each is decorated by an artist or fashion designer, including Lulu Guinness (seen here with her creation), Tommy Hilfiger, Matthew Williamson, Diane von Furstenberg, John Rocha and Jack Vettriano. One herd is in Trafalgar Square, others can be found in Notting Hill, the South Bank, Greenwich Market, around St Paul's, and in other tourist hot-spots.

Come July, the models will be auctioned off to raise money for the conservation of flesh-and-blood Asian elephants. Over the past 100 years, their population has shrunk by 90%, and if nothing is done to preserve their habitat, in 30 years they could vanish altogether.

Artist Benjamin Shine has transformed his elephant into a taxi, powered by a solar cell so that a sign lights up at night and its eyes turn into headlamps. It’s by the Royal Exchange.

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