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Press Release   •   Jun 07, 2013 08:32 GMT

DANA POINT, Calif. (June 7, 2013) Over 2,000 Southern California students have been learning about the dramatic plight of the Asian elephant with hopes of joining acclaimed artists including Tommy Hilfiger, Katy Perry, and Diane von Furstenberg in the much-anticipated U.S. debut of Elephant Parade® later this year.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the youth of Dana Point,” said Rob Koscelnik, General Manager of the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach – Dana Point. “It’s a way to bridge the gap between our intimate Southern California coastal community and the international focus of the event.”

After stops in London, Singapore, Milan and Amsterdam, Elephant Parade: Welcome to America will be unveiled this August showcasing dozens of colorfully decorated life-size elephant sculptures along the shores of Dana Point, California.

As an extension of the open-air exhibition, local 4th and 5th graders went through a two-week educational curriculum and then developed elephant designs inspired by their experience.

Once selected, a winning student will collaborate with Capistrano Valley High School Visual Arts Instructor Kent Baker to finalize a six-foot full-scale design and 15% of the proceeds of the final elephant sale will go back to the winners school.   

“The Capistrano Unified School District is thrilled to be collaborating with the The Asian Elephant Foundation on this wonderfully educational and engaging program,” said Anna Bryson,member of the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees.It’s heartwarming to see this young generation so energized about affecting the future of such an extraordinary animal.”

As a contribution to the cause, selected students’ designs will be donated to The Asian Elephant Foundation for sale to help raise funds supporting global conservation efforts for the world’s most majestic land mammals.

“Our focus is on the future of a now critically endangered species,” said Remand Houben, Director of The Asian Elephant Foundation. “The program provides a unique platform for the students to continue their education of global environmental issues. It is an incredibly effective tool to generate awareness for this cause in the local community, and introduce the upcoming Elephant Parade in Dana Point."

Elephant Parade was founded in 2006 by father and son team, Marc and Mike Spits. While on holiday in Thailand, Marc was introduced to a baby elephant named Mosha, who became the world's first elephant to be fitted with a prosthetic limb after stepping on a landmine. To date, Elephant Parade has raised more than $5 million for Asian elephant conservation and approximately 8 million people worldwide have experienced the expositions.

“We’ve created a social enterprise built on a successful model of art, business and charity resulting in very tangible, timely preservation efforts,” commented Mike Spits, co-founder of Elephant Parade. “If we don’t take action now, the Asian Elephant could become extinct in just a few short decades.”

More information

For more information, please visit and Like Dana Point on Facebook at and find additional pictures, videos and stories from past parades at

Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues that seeks to attract public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation. Created by local and international artists, each elephant is a unique piece of art. Parades have been run in the following cities:

Rotterdam 2007

Antwerp 2008                      

Amsterdam 2009

Emmen Zoo 2010                           

London 2010           

Bergen 2010            

Heerlen 2011

Copenhagen 2011 

Milan 2011   

Singapore 2011                  

Hasselt 2012

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