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Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 12:41 UK
Nanook the elephant joins the Elephant Parade in London
Painted model baby elephant
Nanuk will be FFI's representative in the Elephant Parade London

A Cambridgeshire elephant is packing her trunk and heading - not for the circus - but instead for a parade.

Nanook is one of 250 brightly coloured elephants which will be dotted around London from May to July 2010.

She has been created by the artist Martin Aveling for Fauna and Flora International. The conservation charity's British HQ is in Cambridge.

Nanook will take part in London's first Elephant Parade, to raise awareness of the plight of Asian elephants.

Elephants on parade

The organisers believe it will be London's biggest public art exhibition. The colourful elephants will be found in locations all over the capital, from parks to street corners.

Each of the baby elephant-sized, fibreglass models taking part has been individually decorated by international and local artists.

Martin Aveling has designed Nanook to include a polar bear clinging to an iceberg.

This is to highlight how the destruction of Asia's forests has an impact beyond the loss of habitat for elephants, and ties in with climate change.

Tuy Sereivathana, head of Cambodian Elephant Group, FFI
'Uncle Elephant' has been honoured for his work saving Cambodia's elephants

The models will cheer up London for three months after which they will be auctioned off to raise money for the charity Elephant Family.

'Uncle Elephant'

Asian elephants are in trouble. Their population is only 10 per cent of that of African elephants.

Deforestation, ivory poaching and commercial farming are all putting them at risk.

Fauna and Flora International has projects in Sumatra and Cambodia aimed at providing community-based solutions to elephant conservation.

In April 2010 the head of its Cambodian Elephant Group received a prestigious prize for this work.

Tuy Sereivathana is known as 'Uncle Elephant' in Cambodia.

He travelled to Washington DC to receive the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize for his achievements. This is a really big deal - the conservation equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Head of Cambodian Elephant Group & villagers
'Uncle Elephant' and Cambodian villagers who support his work

'Uncle Elephant' is the first Cambodian to meet President Obama, who called him a role model.

'Chilli ropes'

Tuy Sereivathana is the man who realised elephants dislike chilli and this could be used to help villagers live alongside the animals.

'Chilli rope' barricades around crops have proved effective at deterring the animals from raiding fields.

He has developed a number of such simple strategies to help balance the needs of people and animals.

Does it work? Well, since 2005 not a single elephant has been killed as a result of human-elephant conflict in Cambodia, and the country now has the largest population of Asian elephants in the region.

Close up of painted elephant's nose
This close up of Nanook reveals the polar bear balancing on her nose

Summer 2010

Nanook the elephant will join many other brilliantly decorated beasts in London in May, June and July 2010.

As well as proudly representing Fauna and Flora, she will help draw attention to the plight of elephants throughout Asia.




SEE ALSO
Cambridge group spot rare monkey
17 Sep 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
Cambodia villagers save elephants
13 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific


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