The other day on my weekly visit to a local mall, I couldn't believe the delightful sight of one beautifully painted elephant statue after another leading me along the ground floor to where I have my coffee. On closer inspection, I discovered each individual animal had a name and a unique design painted by local artists.
There is a serious point to this wonderful display that is taken to venues all over the country and further afield. Most people know that elephants are now an endangered species, mainly because of their valuable ivory tusks, and the fight is on to ensure their survival. One Dutchman, Marc Spits, is making a difference after meeting a baby elephant in Thailand that was to change his life.
Mosha had been brought to the elephant hospital in Lampang when she lost a leg after stepping on a landmine. Hearing of the plight of the Asian elephant, whose numbers in the wild have decreased to only 1,500 in Thailand, Marc and his son, Mike, founded Elephant Parade. The world's largest open air art exhibition, each of the painted elephants is a unique piece of art and the inspiration behind each design is explained on a plaque.
The Asian Elephant Foundation. I couldn't resist buying a tiny replica of Mosha with her bandaged leg as a memento and in the hope that I've made even a small contribution to this essential cause.