Prince Charles and Camilla played host and hostess on Tuesday evening as they put on a poignant reception in honour of the Elephant Family charity, of which they are both presidents. The event was held at Lancaster House and also in attendance was Princess Eugenie who, like Charles and Camilla, is a keen supporter of the endangered Asian elephant.
For the Duchess of Cornwall, the reception was quite a personal affair owing to the fact that it was her late brother, Mark Shand, who was the driving force and founder of Elephant Family, a charity that seeks to raise awareness for the endangered Asian elephant. 90% of the Asian elephant population has been lost to poaching and its habitat’s are being destroyed due to modernisation.
Mark Shand was the younger brother of The Duchess of Cornwall and also a travel writer and conservationist. Mark Shand died in April 2014 after suffering a nasty fall and just shortly before his death in New York, Shand had been present at a charity auction at Sotheby’s in aid of Elephant Family. Following the death of Mark Shand, Elephant Family launched the Mark Shand Memorial Trust which also raises funds to save the endangered Asian elephants.
At the event on Tuesday evening, Prince Charles spoke to guests “As joint presidents of this marvellous charity Elephant Family, my wife and I could not be more proud to support their vital work. After all we are here to ensure that dear Mark’s hard won legacy is maintained and enhanced.”
Elephant Family endeavour to protect endangered elephants and preserve their natural habitat and since their launch in 2002 they have invested over £6 million to save the Asian elephant. This investment has been used in a number of ways including to reduce incidents of human-elephant conflict, a UK wide education program highlighting the plight of the Asian elephant and publicity amongst other things.
Prince Charles concluded, “This evening’s events are designed to highlight the quest to save Asia’s endangered elephants from a frighteningly precipitous decline. There may be no more than fifty thousand left in total in the wild across the thirteen countries where they are literally clinging to survival.”
Following Prince Charles’s speech, an auction of rickshaws was opened to begin the raising of funds for Elephant Family.
Featured Photo Credit: Andy Gott