Thousands of digital elephants will descend on Manchester today on the first stop of their world tour. The herd, part of global movement #MarchforGiants, will appear on a digital billboard in the city's centre to boost support for the fight against poaching.
The #MarchforGiants herd will march on to Birmingham tomorrow and London’s Westfield shopping centre on Saturday, before marching through France, Holland, Australia and Botswana to raise awareness of the poaching crisis.
One third of Africa’s elephants have been wiped out, with an average of 55 killed each day. Every digital elephant in #MarchforGiants represents an elephant in the wild that has been protected by a person during this campaign.
Joanna Lumley, Deborah Meaden, and Star Wars actor Mark Hamill have lent their support. Lumley said: “March for Giants presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for people everywhere to make their voice heard. It is a truly transformative moment for the conservation of Africa’s elephants.”
Anyone can join the herd by donating £5 by either texting “GIANT” plus their name to 70025, or online at www.marchforgiants.org. Each sponsor customises their elephant’s design before it joins the ever-growing herd.
The funds raised go to Space for Giants, the conservation charity of which The Independent proprietor Evgeny Lebedev is a patron. An elephant bearing this newspaper’s logo will be among the herd.
Following the success of 2017’s inaugural #MarchforGiants, this year’s campaign promises to be even bigger. Once the herd has marched across global billboards and social media, it will head to Africa, arriving at a conservation event called the Giants Club Summit in Botswana on March 16.
Held in the presence of Botswana’s President Khama, the Giants Club Summit brings together African leaders, conservationists and global influencers to chart the next steps for ensuring elephants and their landscapes are protected, forever.
The #MarchforGiants herd will boost momentum as African leaders lend their names to an Avaaz petition — with over one million signatures — that demands the European Union end its ivory trade. Now that China has closed its ivory market, the EU is the largest legal ivory exporter.
Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, said: “There have been a number of huge gains in the fight to protect elephants, but there’s a danger we could become complacent. Poaching is not over. Elephant habitats are not secure. The job is not finished.
"Joining the global movement that is the March for Giants is a way to loudly add your voice to thousands of others demanding we all keep the pressure up to secure a future for elephants and the landscapes they depend on."
The digital elephant project is made possible through the generous support of many organisations. The screen space is donated by Ocean who formed The Alliance, a network of like-minded global digital out-of-home media owners who can offer both full-motion imagery and integrated technology in their screens, allowing campaigns such as March for Giants to have global reach.
The original #MarchforGiants concept came from London-based creative agency 18 Feet & Rising. The technology to create the experience was made by digital studio Popped. Freefolk provided 3D expertise. DOOH.com is facilitating the streaming of the virtual herd to iconic digital billboards worldwide and by closing the social media loop, returning an image of every elephant’s visit to each city back to its donator.
Join the March at www.marchforgiants.org