Elephant fundraisers race around Wimbledon Common for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Mud bath: Happy ellies before the race

Game ellies: Wimbledon Guardian's Louisa Clarence-Smith and Becky Middleton

Joining the stampede: Wimbledon Liberal Democrat's parliamentary candidate Shas Sheehan (far right)

First published in News
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Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

If you went down to the woods on Saturday, you were in for a big surprise, as 200 elephants raced around Wimbledon Common for charity.

A hoard of fundraisers dressed in elephant suits stomped between 5km and 10km to raise £40,000 for Africa's elephants on Saturday, June 7.

Ready steady: ellies do some stretches before the race begins 

Braving the wet weather and muddy puddles, the Wimbledon Guardian's Becky Middleton and Louisa Clarence-Smith were among the human-elephants.

Kicking off with a warm-up from Red Hot Yoga, the ellies set off from The Windmill cafe at 11am to run laps around Wimbledon Common.

They were joined by elephant keeper Benjamin Kyalo, who flew over from Kenya's Tsabo National Park especially to support the runners.

He said: "For 14 years I have dedicated my life to caring for elephants.

"As someone who works on the ground, I see the pain elephant families undergo at the hands of poachers, and the young ones after losing their mothers.

"Seeing so many elephants on Saturday was truly amazing and we are so grateful.

"If nothing is done, then elephants face extinction and the future generation will see the species in pictures."

The Enormous Elephant Run was organised by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to the protection and conservation of wildlife and habitats.

Another game ellie, Shas Sheehan, Wimbledon Liberal Democrat's parliamentary candidate, said: "The loss of these beautiful and sensitive creatures is too dreadful to contemplate and I am pleased to help raise awareness of this unfolding tragedy.

"Wimbledon Common is the perfect setting for this event and I do hope it will be repeated next year."

There's still time to sponsor Becky and Louisa for making fools out of themselves. Donate at justgiving.com/A-Journalist-Never-Forgets

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