The Claypen in West Hartford Center started the ‘Adopt an Elephant’ program after learning about the work of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.
By Ronni Newton
After learning about the work of the David Sheldrick Wilflife Trust (DSWT) last spring, Claypen Manager Stephanie Yearsley said the staff was inspired to support the organization’s elephant orphanage – and they are now fostering 1-year-old Jotto.
“We immediately loved what [the DSWT does] and decided to find a way to support them,” Yearsley said in an email.
The Claypen launched an “Adopt an Elephant” program – where customers paint clay elephant statues and 10 percent of the sale is donated to the DSWT. The names of program participants are displayed on a wall behind the cash register.
“Included with our elephants are adoption certificates and a blanket, which is something that DSWT does for their real live elephants to keep them feeling warm and secure,” said Yearsley.
The program has been so successful that last week the Claypen was able to make a large donation to the DSWT – enough to foster Jotto.
Yearsley said that Jotto had a rocky start to life, when at 1-month of age he was found orphaned in a well. Jotto has continued to recuperate and is now thriving thanks to the support of customers and the DSWT.
The Claypen has been posting regular updates about the baby elephant on its Facebook page – including photos of Jotto that they receive on a monthly basis. You can also click here to follow the log of Jotto’s keeper.
“We can’t wait to see what the year brings for Jotto and his friends,” said Yearsley.
The project has not only been successful, but the Claypen staff has really enjoyed it, and now plans to support another animal. There’s a voting box in the from of the store where customers can help choose the next animal.
You can also still paint elephants for donations to the Jotto fund through Jan. 31, 2017.
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