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Elephant art achieves jumbo effort




23 November 2006

Elephant art aims to achieve jumbo effort for conservation

An exhibition of paintings by Auckland Zoo elephants Kashin and Burma to raise funds to support conservation projects in the wild, is about to go on display at Auckland's Reef Gallery.

The Elephant Art Exhibition at the Symonds Street gallery, the first exhibition of its kind for Auckland Zoo, features 12 large paintings created on quality canvases.

Thanks to the support of the Reef Gallery, the exhibition will run from Monday, 27 November, to Thursday, 21 December, with an opening night on 28 November.

Also supporting the exhibition are The French Art Shop, National Art Supplies, Fine Art Supplies and Draw Art Supplies, who have kindly donated materials and staff time and skills, to help us ensure the paintings are produced using the very best materials, and Spotless Services New Zealand Ltd.

"Like all elephants, Kashin and Burma are incredibly intelligent, and need to be constantly challenged and stimulated," says Auckland Zoo elephant section team leader, Andrew Coers, who has worked with the two female elephants for seven years.

"Painting is not something they do everyday. It’s just one of many activities we offer them to keep them busy, and physically and mentally challenged, and it’s something they seem to really enjoy. We can tell when their ears are flapping, their eyes are wide open, and their paintbrushes are getting a real work-out, that they’re having a lot of fun”, he says.

"The 12 paintings we’ve chosen are stunning. They might not be art in the traditional sense, but each one is an original creation, and an awesome reminder of just how impressive and intelligent elephants are, and why we must ensure this species survival. It’s great that Kashin and Burma are doing something they enjoy, and at the same time contributing to conservation projects in countries like Sumatra and Borneo where their fellow elephants are under threat from loss of habitat due to ongoing deforestation,” says Mr Coers.

“This is a very exciting exhibition for Reef Gallery,” says Reef Gallery manager, Rebecca Aarons. “A lot of hard work has gone into this exhibition by all involved, and as a result the pieces are looking great. Reef Gallery is proud to be supporting Auckland Zoo, and we are confident the public will really enjoy the art Kashin and Burma have created.”

All profits from the exhibition will go to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund, which supports a range of overseas and local conservation projects. Among these are: the Sumatran Orang utan Conservation Project (SOCP); Bornean Orang utan Survival (BOS) Foundation; Sumatran tigers through 21st Century Tiger's Kerinci Seblat National Park; The Turtle Conservation Centre (Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam); Cheetah Outreach (South Africa), and locally, Ark in the Park (Waitakere Ranges) and the Campbell Island teal recovery programme.

Visit: www.aucklandzoo.co.nzfor further details.

ELEPHANT ART Exhibition: Reef Gallery, 84 - 86 Symonds St, Auckland. 27 November to 21 December. Opening Hours: 7.30am to 3pm, Monday to Friday (entrance through Reef Cafe). The exhibition also features a short video on the zoo's elephant programme, including footage of the elephants painting. From Tuesday 28 November, the 12 paintings can also be viewed online at: www.aucklandzoo.co.nz



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