Elephants take Dana Point

Over thirty vibrant, hand-painted, life-size baby elephant sculptures, created by celebrities and acclaimed artists, are currently on display throughout Dana Point Harbor Drive in what is known as the Elephant Parade. It was started in 2006 when a baby elephant named Mosha was injured and lost her leg.
The creators of the Elephant Parade vowed to help Mosha in an innovative and artistic way. By raising money with an exhibition of colorfully decorated elephant displays, they helped Mosha become the first baby elephant to receive a prosthetic leg. Since then, the Elephant Parade has dedicated itself to raising awareness of the endangered Asian elephant species in cities across the globe.
The international parade made its debut in Dana Point in August. Visitors are able to walk through Dana Point Harbor to observe the displays and learn the meaning behind each baby elephant sculpture. Every elephant has a plaque with its name, background, significance and theme.
An elephant called Cesar’s Pack, located near the beach and painted with the faces of humans and various animals, is dedicated to convey the idea that mankind and animals share the planet with each other and that humans must attempt to protect animals.
Another, called Betty Boop and placed in the middle of a shopping center, features the famous cartoon character sitting on top of an elephant with her bright red dress and heels. Betty Boop was chosen because during the Great Depression, she gave hope and entertainment to people.
Numerous elephants are spread throughout the harbor, shopping centers and parks of Dana Point. By searching for each elephant—like a scavenger hunt—visitors  are able to also enjoy the beauty of Dana Point.
Hundreds of visitors are attracted to different cities each year to enjoy the Elephant Parade. Replicas of each elephant from previous exhibitions as well as this year’s exhibition are for sale, and the proceeds will be donated to the Asian Elephant Foundation.
The exhibition showcases the elephants in different parts of Dana Point, but the closing ceremonies will feature all of the elephants in Lantern Bay Park from November 12 at 10 a.m. to November 16 at 8 p.m.
Make sure to check them out before they are gone!
By Kruthi Renduchintala
Staff Writer