To Ron Chandler, the Garo Hills in India are the most beautiful place on earth.

“You just can’t even believe you’re even on this planet,” he said. “It’s just magnificent.”

One of the largest remaining herds of Asian elephants lives there, said Chandler, the president and co-founder of Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant. He and about 40 others marched donning elephant hats and shirts, waving signs and chanting about elephant preservation at Depot Park on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The organization sold elephant T-shirts and wristbands for discounted beer at First Magnitude Brewing Company to generate funding, although the third annual event was really meant to raise awareness, Chandler said.

“It feels really good to do something with other people for elephants,” Chandler said.

Poaching and uncontrolled urban sprawl has endangered Asian elephants, Chandler said. He also said the harvesting of palm oil, which is used in food, cosmetics and biodiesel products, is the  worst killer of Asian elephants.

Sierra Orme, 27, marched around the park carrying a homemade sign with a Dr. Seuss quote.

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant is faithful 100 percent,” her sign read.

The Santa Fe College wildlife ecology and conservation senior said she fears if these large mammals go extinct, there could be consequences for the environment.

“If there aren’t events like these, how are children and even adults aware of problems other than where you live?” she said. 


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