Over 2,500 elephants march across Britain to highlight poaching crisis


Emma Ledger, The Independent

Date Published

See link for photos. 

The herd of digital elephants that has been marching across the world’s digital billboards to raise awareness of the crisis facing the animal reached London today (24 March).

Conservation campaigners today welcomed #MarchforGiants, the world’s first ever virtual elephant herd, as it arrived at Four Dials Square in Westfield Stratford City.

The parade of more than 2,500 digital elephants started their trek across the big screens in Hong Kong, before reaching New York, and then arriving in London at 7am this morning, where they will be live there all day. Tomorrow the herd will reach The Media Eyes screen in Birmingham (March 25) and the March ends in Manchester Printworks on Sunday (March 26).

The March for Giants campaign shines the spotlight on the illegal ivory trade, and stars including Elizabeth Hurley, Ricky Gervais, Nicky Hilton, Anna Friel, Joanna Lumley and rugby player Will Greenwood have joined those signing up to raise awareness.

The money raised will support Space for Giants, a conservation charity which works on the ground to protect elephants in Africa. The Independent’s owner Evgeny Lebedev is Patron of the charity, and The Independent has its own branded elephant which is part of the globe-trotting herd.

Their UK arrival was marked by the presence of Oona the elephant, a life-size puppet operated by four people. It is currently starring in the theatre production of Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild at the Hackney Empire.

Edward Snape, Producer of Running Wild, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the March For Giants campaign and help support a wonderful charity like Space for Giants. We support the conservation of elephants, as our show tells the story of a young girl whose life is saved by an elephant.”

You can still join #MarchforGiants by going to www.marchforgiants.org and donating £5, or by texting ‘GIANT’ plus your name to 70025 (UK mobiles only). This will create a personalised elephant to join the parade and be part of a united global response to the threat facing Africa’s elephants.

The campaign is also backed by leading brands including National Express, Givergy, Maclaren, FIRSTavenue, The Delta Group, EAST, Made by Riley, The Leopardess Foundation, BCD Travel and popular children’s book character Elmer the Elephant (Andersen Press).

The campaign is the world’s first to link global billboard space and was created by London-based creative agency 18 Feet & Rising, and brought to life by Popped, Free Folk and DOOH.com. The four-day virtual parade takes place on giant screens operated by Ocean Outdoor and The Alliance, an international network of digital out of home screens.