Shopping in town can be a bit of an adventure at the best of times, but as of the fifth of this month, it’s been less Gok Wan and a bit more David Attenborough. Edinburgh city centre has been transformed from metropolitan shopping district to the exotic climes of the Amazon … Borneo… and the African Savannah and there’s not a highland coo in sight.
Locals and tourists have been discovering the city has been invaded by herds of brightly coloured elephants, troupes of branded chimps, a buffoonery (that is the real collective noun) of protesting Orang-utans, and a tiger being ridden by a businessman scattered around the city in statue form. All 130 of the near life-sized animals are part of a campaign by Jungle City, a conservation group, which aims to raise money to save the statues’ mobile counterparts.
Various businesses such as Harvey Nichols have sponsored the statues, which were made to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species from around the globe for conservation groups such as the Elephant Family. Messages such as “Don’t climb on me, I’m endangered enough” and “Take a photo now, you may not get another chance” help to get the message across.
Each of the large statues can be sponsored, or bought outright if you have the space for a tiger and rider. Or you could just buy a miniature pet if you don’t happen to have a few acres of rain-forest in your back garden.
After a month in the cold climate of Edinburgh the animals are about to disappear from our streets, but not without one last fundraising party. The Jungle Jam at the dovecot studios this Saturday will feature a 7 piece Latino band Colomboloco who will be playing from their new album ‘Living in the Jungle’ which has been dedicated to the campaign. The show will be free, but donations are more than welcome.
All the animals have been gathered together in the dovecot studios for the final few days of the event, so if you missed seeing any of the 130 statues in the wild, you can at least wish them bon voyage in the ark-like final display.
Video by Aleks Jurczak