On Dec 19th, 2015 the City of Kenner, Louisiana dedicated “Ella” an abstract elephant sculpture to educate that elephants are a Vanishing Species.
It is believed Kenner is the first city in the United States to dedicate a large piece of #Art to educate on Vanishing Species.
Current estimates are that elephants, which currently number 400,000, will be extinct in the wild in 15-20 years.
Poaching of elephants for their Ivory has grown to approximately 25,000 per year as part of a $7 Billion dollar a year Illegal Wildlife Trafficking system.
Ivory and other exotic animal parts are used as currency to fund terrorism and organized crime.
The US House of Representatives recently passed HR-2494 the “Global Anti-Poaching Act” to increase penalties to deter wildlife trafficking.
The Senate Bill S-27 was introduced to the US Senate in January 2015.
Ella was created by Metal Artist Hernan Caro, a Kenner resident and native of Columbia. Mr. Caro began his wildlife art while in Columbia.
Ella was funded by Henry and Pat Shane, art lovers, who have created an extensive outdoor sculpture garden in the City of Kenner and Jefferson Parish.
The Shanes have been working with Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni for several years to develop Kenner’s reputation for outdoor art. Kenner is the sixth largest city in Louisiana.
Also on hand for the dedication was Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and his companion “Peanut.” Lt. Gov Nungesser is well known for his role is saving the Louisiana Coast Line after the BP Oil Spill. At the time he was parish president of Plaquemines Parish.
Peanut can be seen in upcoming Mardi Gras Parades with a group called: “The Great Tuskers of AWE.”
The Great Tuskers will march 10 miles during two Mardi Gras parades to raise awareness to the risk of elephant extinction in the wild in our lifetimes. Currently less than 100 Great Tuskers exist.
A Great Tusker has tusks over 100 pounds each.
The Great Tuskers are part of “Save Vanishing Species with AWE” a field of interest fund established and supervised by the non-profit Northshore Community Foundation of Covington, LA.
Save Vanishing Species with AWE was originally established as the “Krewe of AWE.” Krewes are a New Orleans tradition for Mardi Gras and social philanthropy.
“AWE” produces a TV-Show for WLAE-TV and public broadcasting titled “Awesome Wildlife Effort” which interviews individuals making an “Awesome Wildlife Effort.” Often following the episodes are films from the National Geographic team of Derrick and Beverly Joubert of Botswana, Africa.
AWE is raising funds for the Jouberts' project, Rhinos without Borders, to move 100 rhino to a safe spot in Botswana away from poaching.
As part of this agreement, AWE is offering discounted trips to the exclusive Joubert lodges in Botswana to donors..
AWE has moved into Water Issues, particularly the lack of oxygen in worldwide waters due to Red Tides, Hypoxic Zones, and nitrogen based fertilizer runoff as a result of increased production of corn to produce ethanol. Currently there are more than 400 Hypoxic or “Dead Zones” in worldwide waters.
AWE has created a You Tube Channel to present its short films and field reports called: “AWE News.”
Other artists have become involved with AWE, such as Fine Artist Anne E. London who works with oils and charcoals, Jeweler Mignon Faget, and Environmental Scenic Artist Max Bernardi who is designing a coloring book for AWE.