An elephant safari in east London

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Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

February, 2023

Product name

The Herd of Hope

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On learning a herd of orphaned elephants were roaming Old Spitalfields Market in East London, we set off on a safari adventure.

The mama elephant and 20 babies have been created by New York based artists Marc and Gillie. They’re known as Rabbitwoman and Dogman, and we found a great bronze sculpture of them riding a pale green vespa motorbike and side car with cups of tea in hand.

We were particularly interested in the sculptures which were based on orphaned elephants in the care of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi which we had visited in 2016.

Although I couldn’t find a map to follow, we walked around the outside of the market and spotted them all, just by wandering and keeping our eyes peeled. After all, life size baby elephants are not hard to miss.

A plaque beside each elephant gave their name date of birth, date of rescue and the circumstances they were found in. For example, Maisha, a female was rescued on 6 September 2017, aged 6 months, and had collapsed from malnutrition and dehydration at the height of a drought whilst at the age of 3 months Ambo had got stuck in a waterhole and abandoned by the herd.

Our walk took around 50 minutes, and afterwards we had a wander through the market stalls in what is now a vibrant area of east London.

Helen Jackson

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