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Elephant Parade – What’s It All About?

Did you see the Daily Mail article telling how Prince George was gifted a 3ft tall Elephant Parade model known as Scratch? And then of course Prince William and Kate were photographed painting Elephant Parade models whilst in India recently…
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…well that got us thinking that we should check out and update ourselves as to what Elephant Parade has been up to in recent times.

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To give you some background, the story of The Elephant Parade revolves around Mosha, a female elephant who lost a leg to a landmine when she was just a baby. That was way back in 2006 and it was then that The Elephant Parade was founded by father and son Marc and Mike Spits. Shortly after, in 2008, Mosha became the first ever baby elephant in the world to receive a prosthetic leg.

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Mosha, her name means ‘Star’ in the Karen language spoken in the Thai-Burma region, is a universal example of bravery and the ability to overcome even the greatest obstacles. It is her spirit that has been the driving force behind the Elephant Parade’s work and efforts up to this day. For more information visit the Elephant Parade website.

Just so you know Elephant Parade is not actually, nor does it claim to be, a charity, it is legally set up as a Social Enterprise. It is of course properly regulated but it is actually run as a commercial business creating products and generating profits to help support the Asian Elephant. 20% of those profits, with a guaranteed minimum of a massive €50,000, is given to the NGO Elephant Family. (That is a minimum, normally much, much more is given).

Recently Elephant Parade joined forces with the Elephant Family to better fight for a brighter future for Asia’s decreasing population of elephants. The Elephant Family is the most specialized Asian elephant NGO (non-governmental organisation) with a proven track record of making a difference for Asia’s elephants. Elephant Family’s projects span from India to Indonesia, and since their founding in 2002, they have delivered over 150 projects to save elephants from extinction. For more information visit the Elephant Family website.

We at homeArama became involved with the project about 3 years ago when we stumbled across a range of colourful and artistic Elephant models and products at a trade exhibition in Europe. There were literally hundreds to choose from in varying sizes, from 10 – 30 cms, and all with a story to tell, individually hand painted and numbered, and with a personalised name…oh and beautifully gift boxed with a certificate of authenticity included. The collection looked fantastic but what really sealed it, and has become the icing on the cake for us, is that every item sold generates a profit and makes a contribution to the Elephant Family which, in turn, does amazing things for Elephants.

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Did you know that, back in around 1900, there were several million African Elephants roaming the savannah and maybe 100,000 Asian Elephants in India, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand and much of the rest of Southeast Asia?? And today…well today there are some 450,000-700,000 Elephants remaining in Africa and between 35,000-40,000 left in Asia. The reason for this decline is a combination of climate change, human’s taking over more and more of the Elephant’s natural habitat and, of course, poaching.

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The Elephant Parade focuses on helping the Asian Elephant, especially in Thailand where the Headquarters and Production Facilities are based in Northern Thailand around Chiang Mai with Mosha living and being cared for at the Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang Thailand.

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It is in Thailand that all the Elephant Models are created, produced, hand painted and then numbered as strict limited editions and packed ready for despatch. The current workforce includes over 150 skilled painters and artists.

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The limited edition models start life as a full size standing or sitting option, around 1.5 metres high and weighing between 55-65 kgs – made of weather resistant Polyester Resin these guys are certainly designed to be noticed and to last! They are then sent around the world to take part in various Parades in major cities and then, when the Parade is over, are auctioned for charity with the top price for a statue being £155,000 and the whole auction raising up to £4 million, all of which goes to the Elephant Family Foundation. So as you can see our Elephants raise a whole lot of money to help save the Elephant!

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Not all statues are turned into miniature limited design collectibles (offered in sizes 10, 15, 20, 30 and 75 cms). Those that do are chosen on the basis of how easy and practical it is to actually hand paint the design in a production process, some are just too difficult to replicate. Around 1200 original Elephant Parade statues have been created of which some 300 have been turned into collectibles. Famous names that have come up with a design include Richard Branson, Ricky Gervais, Katy Perry, Paul Smith, Ferrari and many more.

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Elephant Parade is not just about saving the Elephant, it is also about helping to stamp out cruelty and abuse meted out to Elephants even today.

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Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years, and it is known they feel pain, suffer when incarcerated and mourn their missing or dead family, relatives and friends. We now know that they form deep and long lasting family bonds, living in tight knit family groups of related females which is known as a herd and is led by the oldest female.

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When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd, much as a human family will behave. Males on the other hand tend to leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and may then lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.

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So the question remains…HOW CAN WE STOP THIS HAPPENING?

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This will not be stopped overnight, we know that, but every little bit counts and every donation made by Elephant Parade to the Elephant Family and other associations helping Elephants makes a difference and has a real effect…SAVING AND HELPING ELEPHANTS!

So by buying an Elephant Parade 10, 15, 20, 30 or 75 cm model you are:

  • Helping Elephants
  • Receiving a one-off hand painted original model
  • Owning a numbered limited edition collectable gift packed item

Bring a smile to your face and to the face of all Elephants and join us supporting Elephant Parade.

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