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Big Brother veteran joins jumbo cause

Rula Lenska helps herd pupils into elephant conservation project

Rula Lenska helps herd pupils into elephant conservation project

Actress turned conservationist Rula Lenska has a track record in helping the survival of endangered species: she prolonged Respect MP George Galloway's political career by playing seductress to his `cat' in an infamous episode of TV's Celebrity Big Brother.

Now she is putting her weight behind a jumbo conservation project designed to engage children in the threat to the Asian elephant.

One hundred fibreglass elephants will be delivered to schools in January to be painted before being sited all over the capital. They will join a further 150 - to be decorated by artists and celebrities - to be let loose on the streets of London next spring.

Elephant Parade London 2010 is the latest programme from Wild in Art, which works with schools to promote conservation. The elephant initiative was launched last week at London's TES Education Show.

"By decorating an elephant, school children can look, feel, touch and become a part of the project rather than associate an elephant (with) a penned-in animal at the zoo," said Ms Lenska.

Wild in Art has created a cross-curricular pack that uses creativity to inspire children and encourage learning, debate and understanding in conservation and citizenship.

"We want to instill that passion and knowledge about the endangered Asian elephant so they will look after it," said Mark Shand, conservationist brother of the Duchess of Cornwall, who is also backing the scheme.

The Duchess of York, actress Joanna Lumley and TV star and writer Stephen Fry are among the celebrities who will bring their creative skills to the 150-strong group to be herded in with the children's work.

After being paraded in the capital's parks, street corners and buildings next May, June and July, the elephants will vanish overnight to emphasise the danger of extinction. They will then return as a 250-strong herd in London's Hyde Park.

"Elephants are the architect of nature. If they disappear it will affect the whole food chain," said Ms Lenska.

"Children are the future guardian in what is left in this world. The only way to impassion them is to involve them, which is why thiscampaign is so important."

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