Elephant Parade at the Siam Square in the city of Bangkok in Thailand
Elephants, for all their intelligence, majesty and cuteness, are constantly threatened by human factors. In fact, photographer Biplab Hazra’s heart-wrenching photo of an elephant mother and baby running for tar bombs in Bankura, West Bengal is a reflection of the threats faced by this species. Hazra won this year’s Sanctuaryasia.com Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Award for that photograph. Such scenes are routine in West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Assam and Tamil Nadu, according to Sanctuary Asia. To promote the cause of elephants, an Elephant Parade will be traveling across India from November 2017. ALSO READ: Animal Cruelty in Tourism: Elephants Used for Rides and Performances in Asia Live in Unacceptable Conditions
India has the largest population of Asian elephants in the world; more than 70 percent, in fact. Yet its treatment of the majestic species leaves much to be desired. Poaching remains an issue, as is encroachment on the natural habitat of elephants. More than 90 percent of elephants have been wiped out in just a century. To protect what is left of the species and its future, the Elephant Parade is being organized by international charity organization Elephant Family. It’s not going to feature real elephants, though.
The Elephant Parade India will feature 101 fiberglass elephants decked with jewels, different patterns and colors. These elephants will be showcased at various venues, starting with Jaipur this November and moving onto New Delhi and Kolkata, before making its final stop in Mumbai in February 2018. The elephants have been designed by India’s leading interior decorators, fashion designers and artists. Some names include Manish Arora, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Vikram Goyal, Anita Dongre and Subodh Gupta. French designer Christian Louboutin has also contributed. NOW READ: Tourist Has A ‘Jurassic Park’ Moment When Elephant Confronts Safari Jeep in South Africa’s Kruger National Park
The 101 elephants will be auctioned off, and all the funds will go towards Elephant Family’s efforts to build 101 elephant corridors in the country. These elephant corridors are meant to help the creatures and other animals to safely roam within their habitat and limit their encounters with humans, keeping them and others safe. Elephant Family has been organizing such parades for 15 years, but this is supposed to be the biggest of its kind in the country. It decided to hold Elephant Parade India after the success of the 2010 Elephant Parade London.