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The pachyderm Picasso? Elephant causes a stampede on the abstract art scene

  • @bobjwilliams

They have a fantastic memory, are rumoured to be scared of mice (the truth is that ants actually bother them more) and frequently remain unmentioned in rooms across the land - but are elephants any good at art?

A zoo in Bedfordshire has set out to answer just that question by appointing an elephant its artist in residence.

A five tonne Asian elephant called Karishma has been demonstrating its artistic flair at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, and now the resultant art work is being sold online,  with her latest masterpiece going under the hammer on auction site eBay.

The abstract work of the fourteen-year-old animal is on sale with bidding starting at just 1p and any proceeds from the 10-day auction, which finishes on November 26, will go towards helping to protect Asian elephants.

Karishma's keeper at Whipsnade Zoo, Elizabeth Becker, said: “Karishma really enjoys painting, and she's very talented at it.

“It demonstrates just how dextrous elephants' trunks really are and we think the end results are pretty amazing, if a little abstract.”

The art sensation's previous works already helped raise £10,000 for elephant conservation and research projects when they went on show last September.

There are thought to be just 1,500 Asian elephants remaining in the wild, with only 30,000 to 35,000 left in total.