Elephants are parading through Dana Point, not to promote a circus but to draw attention to the plight of the endangered Asian elephant species.
After debuting together for VIPs at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort Thursday morning, 30 life-size elephant sculptures were sprinkled throughout Dana Point, where they will be on view for the next 10 weeks.
It's part of an international Elephant Parade event that has seen the sculptures make stops in London, Milan and Singapore, but this is not only the first time all 30 have been displayed in the same city at the same time, it's the first time the exhibition has been held on U.S. soil.
Elephant Parade was founded in 2006 by Amsterdam father and son Marc and Mike Spits, inspired by Marc having been introduced to a real-life baby elephant named Mosha who became the world's first 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.
Besides raising attention (and hopefully donations) for a worthy cause, the sculptures have star power. Each was painted by celebrities ranging from Khloe Kardashian and Lilly Tomlin to Mumbai jewelry designer Mira Gulati and pin-up artist Olivia DeBeradinis.
.facebook.com/myDanaPoint and find additional pictures, videos and stories from past parades at http://www.mynewsdesk.com/pressroom/elephant-parade.