Elephants making ornaments for a cause

Elephants making ornaments for a cause

WINSTON, Ore. -- Over the last weekend, hundreds of people poured into the elephant barn at Winston's Wildlife Safari for a pachyderm painting lesson.

Katie Alayan, an elephant supervisor, says the elephants were busy playing elf getting ready for the holidays. "George, our male elephant, spray painted on the side of a wooden ornament and then guests decorate the other side of the ornament, so that it's an ornament that's created in partnership," she said.

Ornaments and other elephant art is being sold at the park to raise funds for elephants at Wildlife Safari and around the world.

Jody Gilmore bought some of the elephant art, and says it's a great way to celebrate the season. "It felt like Christmas because we're giving to the elephants," she said.

Guests enjoyed cocoa and cookies while getting up close and personal with George.

Officials with the park say an estimated 96 African elephants are killed every day for their ivory.

Safari offciials say they hope these encounters will help stop future poaching. "Hopefully, if they have a chance to donate to a conservation organization or if they have the chance to make a difference in an elephant's life, they'll remember having met these elephants and it will make a difference for all elephants," Alayan said.