Camilla tells ITV News why she is rescuing elephant project started by her late brother

The Duchess of Cornwall has spoken to ITV News about her late brother as she launched a fundraising campaign for the elephant charity he cared so much about.

Camilla is urging her friends and others to adopt one of the 125 life-size elephant sculptures that have been made in southern India, where her brother, Mark Shand worked so hard to protect them.

Four of the elephants were hoisted into position this week at Highgrove, the country house she and Prince Charles share in Gloucestershire.

Mark Shand, who was Camilla’s younger brother, died suddenly in 2014 after falling and hitting his head in New York.

He founded the charity, the Elephant Family which works to protect the elephants' habitat in the Tamil Nadu region of India and teaches people how they can live side by side with the huge creatures.

The Elephant Family which works to protect the elephants habitat in the Tamil Nadu region of India. Credit: Elephant Family

The Duchess of Cornwall told ITV News: "My brother who founded the charity - if he saw all these elephants across the south-west of England, he'd be so proud!"

The plan by Elephant Family to put this special herd of 125 elephant sculptures on display in the Royal Parks in London last summer was scuppered by Covid and the elephants were locked up in a warehouse.

To get them out in public again, Camilla asked her friends and contacts to put them on display.

One of them, like the novelist Jilly Cooper, responded to Camilla’s pleas and offered a temporary home to the elephants in her Gloucestershire garden, close to Highgrove.

Camilla told us it was an “elephant corridor” across the south-west of England – just like the one’s her brother’s charity is trying to create to protect the elephants in India.

"Wherever my brother is”, she said looking momentarily up towards the sky above her, “I'm sure he will be praying that they'll make a lot of money for the charity.”

The elephant sculptures are life-sized. Credit: Elephant Family

The Duchess hopes the sculptures will also raise awareness and spark conversations here about protecting the Asian elephants whose habitat is at risk from the ever-growing human population in India.

It is what her brother would have wanted.

But 70 of the elephant sculptures are about to arrive from India and are still looking for a home in the UK.

However, as they are life size models, they are most suited to people with larger gardens!

Several of the elephant sculptures are being installed at Camilla and Prince Charles's home of Highgrove. Credit: Elephant Family

Ruth Ganesh, from Elephant Family said: "A lot of wildlife has to live with people and that is the whole point of this project.

"We can co-exist with this huge species just as we live with beavers and badgers in our own country."

The sculptures are made for an invasive weed which damages the elephants’ protected habitats and forces them into areas where they may come into conflict with humans.

The plant – which is not native to India – was introduced by British tea planters in the 1800s.

Elephant Family, like all charities this year, has been suffering from a huge drop in revenues from fundraising.

They’ve lost more than 70% of their income because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Every charity is suffering”, Camilla told us as she stood in front of the sculptures close to the visitor centre at Highgrove gardens, “they are all doing everything they can to raise funds."

Mark Shand wrote a book called Travels on My Elephant about his 600 mile journey across India with an elephant called Tara.

He died just hours after raising money for the charity at an event in New York.