Woburn Safari Park opens evocative Tusk garden to highlight elephant ivory crisis
Bedfordshire's Woburn Safari Park has created a new home for conservation charity Tusk's striking 'NOT FOR SALE' garden. This unique exhibit was designed to educate the public about the devastating slaughter of endangered African elephant populations, caused by the brutal ivory trade.
With nearly 100 elephants killed every day for their tusks for the illegal ivory trade, it's crucial that organisations like Tusk and Woburn Safari Park help educate the public about the plight of elephants in the wild.
The conceptual garden has been installed at 'Elephant Junction' in the park's Foot Safari, after it first appeared as an entry at the 2017 RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, where the creation by Ferguson & Whyte Garden Design won a silver in the conceptual garden category. The installation of the garden comes as the government announces plans for tough new legislation banning the trade of a wide range of ivory products regardless of their age.
Attending a special launch event on Tuesday 10th July will be Tusk CEO & Co-founder, Charlie Mayhew MBE, as well as Woburn's female Asian elephants Tarli, Chandrika, Damini and Yu Zin.
Framed by a ringed arch made of 100 pairs of synthetic tusks, NOT FOR SALE symbolises the alarming rate at which African elephants are being killed by poachers, nearly one every 15 minutes.
With the ambiance of the African savannah - planted with grasses and plants - visitors can go on an emotive journey through the installation, where elephant 'bones' (made of fibreglass resin) lie in dust as a grave reminder of the ivory trade's devastating impact. Interpretive signs enhance the learning experience; educating the public on the elephants' plight, the ivory trade and what they can do to help.
Charlie Mayhew, Tusk CEO & Co-founder, said: "We are delighted that Woburn Safari Park has generously agreed to recreate this dramatic Tusk garden to highlight the crisis facing Africa's elephants. Our aim is to capture the public's imagination whilst also delivering a powerful message about the devastating impact of the global ivory trade.
Since the garden was first featured at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in July 2017, we are pleased that the Government has responded to public demand and committed to introducing new legislation to ban ivory sales in the UK. We are extremely grateful to Woburn for all their continued and invaluable support of Tusk's conservation work and we hope visitors to the Safari Park will be inspired to help Tusk protect Africa's wildlife for future generations."
Drew Mullin, Woburn Safari Park's General Manager said: "We are incredibly proud to have been selected as the new home for TUSK's NOT FOR SALE garden, which will be displayed at Woburn as an important reminder of the elephant ivory crisis. African elephant populations have declined by 70% since 1979 so education and public support is vital. Working closely with TUSK, we have raised over £9,000 for the charity since 2016, through our fundraising events. This striking garden is a visually arresting reminder for visitors, encouraging them to understand and support globally important conservation issues."
Woburn Safari Park is proud to work with Tusk and has raised almost £10,000 in the past two years; contributing to their important conservation work with some of the most endangered animals across the African continent.