Joanna Lumley, Amy Jackson and Donna Air join THE GREAT MIGRATION: Herd of Asian elephants spotted in London as the COEXISTENCE CAMPAIGN reaches the Capital

100 life-size elephant sculptures tell the story of our crowded planet and how best to share space in human-dominated landscapes. They mark a unique moment in time when our lightened footprint is having a positive effect on wildlife everywhere.

LONDON, UK (15TH MAY 2021) – Today, British actress Joanna Lumley, Bollywood star Amy Jackson and TV presenter Donna Air joined a herd of life size lantana elephant sculptures as they crossed The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, marking the next step of the CoExistence campaign.

Joanna Lumley, who has been a long-standing Ambassador of Elephant Family, spoke about the urgent need to support the coexistence of humans and animals across Asia and indeed the globe. 

“The elephants crossing London’s Mall are as mighty as they are meaningful, and I am proud to represent this campaign. The herd has arrived at the time of a great pause, when our human footprint on the wild world has lessened and wildlife everywhere has flourished. These elephants carry with them inspiring stories of coexistence and we have much to learn from them.”

Pictured alongside the magnificent animals were a number of Ghurka guards.  It will be their responsibility to ensure the elephants remain guarded as they move into their next destination on the Kings Road and into the Royal Parks this summer.

Global Bollywood star and Elephant Family Ambassador Amy Jackson commented, 

Following The Mall, these elephants will continue to make their way around the globe on their 13,000 mile migration. As they reach new places they will tell the story of our crowded planet, the effect of our human footprint on wild spaces and share inspiring ways we can coexist with all living beings that make our world magical – from tigers and badgers to nightingales and elephants.”  

Along with Amy, Patron Donna Air also joined the migration to show her support to the CoExistence campaign.

CoExistence is an environmental art exhibition by Elephant Family and The Real Elephant Collective featuring 100 life size Asian elephants. The elephants have been created deep in the jungles of Tamil Nadu by Indigenous communities who live in close proximity to their real-life counterparts. Here, people and elephants coexist in denser populations than anywhere else in the world. The CoExistence campaign is a response to the increasing overlap between the human and animal world, which is in part responsible for the spread of deadly zoonotic diseases.

The campaign aims to trigger a moment of collective empathy for the world’s biggest and most intelligent land animal, like so many magical creatures, now find themselves living in human-dominated landscapes. Launched by the leading conservation Elephant Family charity, the campaign uses indigenous art to turn green spaces into examples of successful human-animal coexistence, both locally and globally – raising awareness and funds to make sure humans and wildlife can coexist better around the world. The elephants are hand made from lantana, an invasive weed whose removal from protected areas benefits wildlife.

The campaign marks a unique moment in time when a global reduction in human activity has had a positive effect on wildlife around the world. It has now been scientifically demonstrated* that the moment we lighten our footprint, wildlife flourishes and in doing so, transforms the health of the planet for all. Lockdown has shown us that coexistence with wildlife in human dominated landscapes is very much possible.

Ruth Ganesh, Creative Lead and Trustee, Elephant Family commented: 

“Today marks the first significant step on the herd’s 13,000-mile migration around the world. Over the past 18 months, many countries have gone into lockdown. Brought about by tragic circumstances, this ‘great pause’ – coined the ‘anthropause’ – is providing crucial guidance on how to best share space with animals in our crowded planet. The elephants are here to tell their story about the inspiring ways we can coexist with all the other living beings that make our world magical – from tigers and orangutans to nightingales and elephants.”

The installation was brought to life by Xerjoff perfumes, creating a multi-sensory experience through fragrance, transporting people to the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India where the elephants began their migration. Sergio Momo, CEO of Xerjoff commented; 

“We are delighted to support the CoExistence campaign and raise awareness of an incredibly important topic. As a brand we take so much inspiration from the wonders of nature and it is vital that we work to protect the wildlife and ecosystems within it so we can coexist together.”

Flying in with the herd are flocks of extinct or endangered British birds such as the nightingale, curlew, dalmatian pelican and turtle dove. These tiny feathered treasures draw attention to the biodiversity we have lost in the UK and one of the most ambitious coexistence visions to launch in the past 12 months: WildEast. Initiated by 3 East Anglian farmers, WildEast calls for everyone to return 20% of their land to nature recovery. Their aim is to lead the UK towards a future of greater biodiversity and to bring the wild back to our landscapes.

Projects made possible by CoExistence include the securement of wildlife corridors which enable safe movement for animals and people, the expansion of national parks and the protection of vital tribal knowledge and livelihoods.

You can support these pioneering projects by donating to the charity Elephant Family or by buying an elephant. www.coexistence.org

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