You probably wouldn’t expect to bump into elephants here but I aim to please so. read on for this tale of elephants in Edinburgh and Africa.
Lulla-Bye certainly wasn’t there the last time I traipsed through the Princes Street Gardens.
But the two and a half tonne sculpture is a welcome addition to the gardens.
And is a poignant tribute to a much-regretted part of Edinburgh’s story, the Mortonhall Ashes Scandal.
The ashes of hundreds of babies were buried or disposed of secretly at Mortonhall Crematorium over decades.
Despite parents being told there were no remains of their children.
It would seem that Edinburgh has somewhat of a history with elephants.
And that as well as the elephant in the Zoo there used to be one who lived in the best accommodation in town, Edinburgh Castle.
Ellie (my name for her) was the mascot of the 78th Highlanders who brought her back from Sri Lanka in the 1830s.
It seems she made herself well at home drinking beer, just like the locals.
That’s nailed it
Her toenails are now on display at the National War Museum on Castlehill.
Of course, elephants belong in their natural habitat and that’s Africa and Asia.
One of schoolkids’ favourite animal questions they like to stump you with is how you can tell the difference.
And the obvious answer would be that if you’re in Africa which I was (Eastern Cape) it’s an African.
And if you’re in Asia then it’s an Asian.
But, yes, Africans have much larger ears while Asians have smaller, rounder ears.
Of course such beautiful creatures are favourite ornaments and you can easily bump into them in your lodge in South Africa.
I’ve heard too of destinations where they roam freely through the lobby of your hotel which is as it should be…
After all, they were here first!
All of which heavy thumping around the subject brings me to an important matter in hand, their protection.
And a very important initiative being run by Holly Budge.
Holly is the founder and director of the non-profit international organisation How Many Elephants which has been heralded by none other than Sir David Attenborough.
The elephant’s friend
Holly has raised over £400,000 for environmental projects.
She truly is the elephant’s friend and it is no exaggeration to say that without hers and others’ efforts their very survival is at risk.
Ninety-six African elephants are poached every day for their ivory, and at this rate, they’ll be extinct within a decade.
Holly’s global travelling exhibition displays 35,000 elephant silhouettes to show the annual poaching rate in Africa.
She can’t do it all alone, of course and that’s where Margot Dempsey comes in.
She launched World Female Ranger Day to support female rangers on the front line of wildlife conservation.
And she speaks passionately about the subject which again you are best checking out online.
Lest we forget and famously elephants never do… they were here first.
And it warms the heart, this tale of elephants in Edinburgh or Africa.