Packing their trunks for the elephant parade

London will be invaded next month by a herd of 250 elephants. Monday 3 May will see the start of Britain's biggest ever outdoor art event. Some 250 life-size, decorated elephants will appear across London, in parks, on street corners and outside public buildings.

The Elephant Parade involves hundreds of artists and celebrities – including the designer Sir Paul Smith and the painter Jack Vettriano – who were invited to decorate their own animal. The elephants, seen here being prepared in Wandsworth, will remain on display around the city until 4 July.

The exhibit aims to raise £2m to help endangered Asian elephants. Numbers have plummeted from around 200,000 to 40,000 in the last century and campaigners say ensuring the survival of the species is a matter of urgency.

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