« Back to ALL

The Great Elephant Migration: A new partnership for human-wildlife coexistence

We are excited to announce our new collaboration with The Great Elephant Migration. From July this year, 100 life-sized elephant sculptures will migrate across the United States on a year-long journey. The migration will be an astonishing piece of activism, telling stories of coexistence and raising funds and awareness for wildlife conservation. All proceeds from the sale of elephant sculptures are donated to NGOs delivering human-wildlife coexistence projects; TENT is proud to be selected for our collaborative efforts to save Italy’s Marsican brown bear from extinction.

Most of us want to save wildlife, but with more than 7 billion humans on Earth, we have less and less space to do so. Habitat degradation along with climate change, our growth and ever-increasing consumption has inevitably put us into contact with wild animals. Human-wildlife conflict directly impacts animals and global conservation goals, as well as businesses and communities. When humans coexist with and avoid persecuting wildlife in our communities, we safeguard ecosystem health, agricultural stability, food security, and the creation of new sustainable economies such as eco-tourism. Coexistence with wildlife is essential for all life, humans and animals alike.

What is the Great Elephant Migration?

A global fundraising adventure to amplify indigenous knowledge and inspire the human race to share space with wildlife. Launching in summer 2024, this 1-year campaign will see 100 magnificent life-size Indian elephants migrate across the USA to share their story with the world. A collaboration between indigenous artisans, contemporary artists and cultural institutions, it will raise millions of dollars to power human-wildlife coexistence projects and protect migratory animals making spectacular journeys across land, rivers and oceans. 

The exhibit is being delivered by Elephant Family USA, a conservation charity whose mission is to harness the power of creativity and storytelling to inspire and enable human populations to share space with wildlife.

What is the impact?

Sustainable indigenous enterprise

The creation of the elephant sculptures provides financial stability, status and pride to 200 members of the Soliga, Bettakurumba, Kattunayakan and Paniya communities, who coexist with the real wild elephants the herd is based on.

Human-wildlife coexistence

Each elephant is twinned with a conservation NGO whose work directly benefits from its sale, to power coexistence projects. Every elephant that finds a permanent home will generate between $7,500 and $20,000 for wildlife conservation NGOs, while giving sustainable livelihoods to indigenous communities.

Invasive species removal

Each elephant is made from Lantana camara, one of the world’s top invasive weeds, which has entangled 40% of South India’s Protected Areas, and diminished food sources for herbivores. Invasive species pose a serious threat to global biodiversity and are a significant driver in 60% of plant and animal extinctions.

Carbon sequestration

The Great Elephant Migration is supporting a large-scale initiative to shred vast areas of invasive Lantana, the weed the elephants are made with, from India’s Protected Areas and convert it into biochar. By the end of 2025, the project will have sequestered 2625 tons of carbon and created more than 500 jobs for indigenous communities through this effort.

Coming soon to the United States!

Who makes the sculptures?

Each elephant in the 100-strong herd has been meticulously crafted by The Coexistence Collective, a community of 200 indigenous Indian artisans from the Bettakurumba, Paniya, Kattunayakan, and Soliga tribes. The Collective has spent the past five years bringing to life every elephant they live alongside in the Nilgiri Hills, in intricately detailed sculptural form. Like many indigenous cultures around the world, these communities have extensive knowledge of nature and wildlife based on generations of observation and experience.

What are they made from?

The elephants are made from lantana camara, one of the worldʼs top invasive weeds. This fast growing, noxious shrub has a stranglehold on 300,000sq. kilometres of Indiaʼs Protected Areas. Lantana pushes animals out of their forest homes into urban areas leading to an increase in human-wildlife conflict. The use of lantana to create the elephants and other quality products, helps remove the weed from protected areas, leaving wildlife more space to roam.

Supporting coexistence with Italy's bears

As a partner in the project, TENT has an elephant in the herd, called Amarena. She represents the story of Italy’s Marsican brown bear, of which just 60 remain. Amarena was a famous Italian bear, tragically killed by a hunter in September 2023.

During her journey, Amarena the elephant will help tell the story of Italy's critically endangered, endemic bear. Her story will be amplified at the exhibition, in the resulting press, and through the Elephant matriarchy – a collective of female leaders who together, broadcast the stories of human-wildlife coexistence. Proceeds from the sale of Amarena – which can be made to an edition of 10 sculptures – will be allocated to TENT to help save the bear from extinction in partnership with Salviamo l'Orso.

In Italy’s wild heart, the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, the critically endangered Marsican bear makes its home, mostly living peacefully in the beech forests of the Apennine mountains. Our project partners at Salviamo l’Orso – working in collaboration with municipalities, local Protected Areas, Rewilding Apennines, and the EU LIFE programme – are working to foster coexistence with the bears, while encouraging their dispersal through five key corridor areas, below.

buy an elephant, support conservation

If you would like to support conservation efforts, you are welcome to purchase an elephant sculpture. Amarena can be made to an edition of 10, with proceeds allocated to our work to save Italy's critically endangered Marsican bear from extinction.
buy an elephant

What is the matriarchy?

Elephant families are matriarchal; each herd is led by an older, experienced female. She is the wise decision maker, the fierce protector, the compassionate guide and caregiver. 

Every elephant in the herd is twinned with a matriarch: a diverse range of brilliant women including environmentalists, activists, writers, creatives and more. The twinning of a woman of power to each elephant will bring attention to the issue of human-wildlife coexistence, using their platforms to amplify the elephant's stories.

Meet some of the matriarchs

Dates & Locations

Wampanoag Territory | July & August 2024

Lenape Territory | September & October 2024

Tequesta, Calusa, Miccosukee and Seminole Territories | December 2024

Shoshone-Bannock, Apsaalooké (Crow), Eastern Shoshone, and Cheyenne May & June 2025

Tongva, Tataviam, Serrano, Kizh, and Chumash Territories July 2025

Discover More

Rewilding Environmental Education – Alladale Wilderness Experience 2024

Alladale Wilderness Experience kicks off in 2024 with 120 schoolchildren!

Read More
Could Scotland become the world's first 'Rewilding Nation'?

How can rewilding help Scotland's nature, people, and climate resilience?

Read More
TENT supports Spanish bear conservation

Spain's bear population is growing, thanks to crucial conservation work.

Read More

Join our newsletter to connect with wild Europe

You've been added to our Newsletter!


* indicates required

By subscribing, you agree to TENT's Privacy Policy.

crosschevron-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram