Wooden elephant herd 'migrates' to show human encroachment

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CoExistence herd at Sudeley Castle in GloucestershireImage source, housand Word Media Ltd
Image caption,
The elephants on show in Gloucestershire are travelling the country to mark the build up to the CoP26 climate conference

A herd of life-size wooden elephants is being displayed to highlight the issue of human encroachment into nature.

Created for charity Elephant Family, 30 of the handcarved animals will be on show in The Cotswolds from 12 April.

The sculptures, known as the CoExistence herd, will then become part of a spectacle of 100 elephants on The Mall in London.

After a period on The Mall they will travel to the US as part of a 13,000-mile journey taking three years.

The elephants were made by artists and indigenous Adivasi tribespeople in the Nilgiri Hills of the Indian province of Tamil Nadu.

Image source, Andrew Higgins/Thousand Word Media Ltd
Image caption,
The herd was handmade in India

From 12 April to 31 May visitors will be able to see the elephants in the grounds of Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The castle's CEO, Shane Samarawikrema, said it had been chosen as the starting point for the herd's global tour because the late Mark Shand, nephew of the castle's current owner Lady Ashcombe, had dedicated much of his life to elephant conservation.

"He spent a lot of time at Sudeley Castle when he was younger, it was one of his favourite places," said Mr Samarawikrema.

"The charity were aware of that connection and so it felt like a perfect place for the tour to begin."

The elephants were positioned either by forklift or teams of men, and were transported by ship from India.

Mr Samarawikrema said: "The colour and texture of the wood really makes them look like the real thing."

Image source, Sudeley Castle
Image caption,
The sculptures will eventually leave the UK and go on display across the US

Elephant Family said the herd, whose tour marks the build-up to the CoP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, were created to highlight the issue of elephants "finding themselves living in human-dominated landscapes".

After leaving Sudeley Castle the sculptures will spend most of the summer in London, beginning at The Mall before moving to the King's Road and then going on display for two months in The Royal Parks.

Over the course of the next three years the herd will "migrate" from the east to the west coast of the US, going on display at various locations along the way.

Image source, Thousand Word Media Ltd
Image caption,
The animals were created to highlight the negative impact of humans on the natural world

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