There’s a herd of 21 elephants in Spitalfields at the moment — one adult and 20 orphaned juveniles.
If you’re worried about elephant dung, these are bronze elephants, sculptures to raise awareness of elephant poaching in Africa by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
They first arrived in London at Marble Arch last year, and have since followed the ancient elephant migration path across London’s grassy plains and seem to be settled in at Spitalfields for the moment.
The adult elephant, a female, represents the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust keepers who work to protect the elephants. The mother’s tusks have been painted a deep blue to draw attention to all the issues of elephant endangerment and to make people reconsider what tusks are now and what they will be in the future. Each smaller elephant represents a member from the real-life herd, from Maisha through to Sattao.
It’s estimated that as many as 55 elephants can be killed in a day due to a mix of poaching and human farming conflicts.
Created by the artists, Gillie and Marc, the sculptures aim to raise funds and awareness for this next generation of elephants.
Each of the orphans has their name and story on the base of the sculpture, and a request not to climb on the sculpture, or on to real elephants either.
The elephants will be in Spitalfields until November 2021.