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Elephant Jazz – a step in the right direction

Elephant Jazz is a charitable fashion startup that hopes to become the answer to the endangerment of elephants in the island.

Amongst the biggest reasons for elephant deaths in Sri Lanka are the human-elephant conflict, train accidents, and starvation – mostly affecting the younger elephants. With a mortality rate of 54% amongst elephant calves, experts now speculate Sri Lankan elephants could go extinct in under three decades.

In the last five years, Sri Lanka has lost a heart-wrenching 1,000-plus elephants; a majority of whom were young 2-5 year olds that died from starvation and malnutrition and Elephant Jazz claims themselves to be the solution to this unfortunate plight – the starvation, harassment, and ill-being of elephants all over Sri Lanka.

We spoke with Mohammed Hibshi, a marketing consultant for the organisation who said:

“Never has there been a higher urgency to improve elephant conservation efforts and Elephant Jazz hopes to make a real difference.”

Hibshi further elaborated on how anyone can be a part of the cause, providing that when you acquire clothing or merchandise from Elephant Jazz, you are making a contribution towards the betterment of wild elephants, and when you sport an Elephant Jazz t-shirt, you are making a statement about the importance of elephant conservation. Every bit counts and takes us one step closer to a future where elephants not only continue to exist, but live happy, healthy lives.

“You can purchase merchandise inspired by elephant designs and in the upcoming week we hope to have our official website up which will provide our patrons the opportunity to track, on an overall capacity, the good that their contribution will be doing.”

How it all works

A portion of the proceeds generated by Elephant Jazz and their elephant inspired fashion would be set aside purely for the elephant conservation effort and they have partnered up with the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR) with the aim of up-scaling much needed elephant conservation efforts.

Elephant memorial

Elephant Jazz organised an elephant memorial to remember the elephants lost in the past five years on 7 and 8 December, at the Dutch Hospital.
The event also acted as an awareness programme – shedding light on the Sri Lankan elephant crisis – which saw attendees and passersby pay their respects by lighting a candle and sharing ideas, contributions, and prayers.

The memorial also included obituary posters set up on either side of their popup tent, with the names, images, and birth and death dates of recently deceased elephants. The posters carried a message about the scale of elephant deaths in Sri Lanka and invited attendees to pay their respects.

The memorial was attended by locals and tourists alike, with many attendees voicing the lack of awareness with regard to the crisis and sharing their opinions on resolving the human-elephant conflict, and most importantly, stating the need for government intervention.

Elephant Jazz CEO Asanka Perera, speaking about this memorial project, stated:

“Sri Lankan elephants are a national treasure and a huge attraction to wildlife enthusiasts and tourists. Unfortunately, with the human-elephant conflict escalating over the years, alongside poaching and starvation, Sri Lankan elephants now face extinction. With Elephant Jazz, we hope to create awareness by extending the memorial to other parts of Sri Lanka and contributing to wild elephant conservation projects. We will also be recruiting volunteers to reside in areas with higher reportings of human-elephant conflict, to understand and mitigate the situation.”

By Dimithri Wijesinghe