By Polly Lynn
RUTLAND—On Saturday, Aug. 27, community members gathered at Rutland Regional Medical Center and folded 800 origami elephants.
The event, put on by Tuttle Publishing, of North Clarendon was “an effort to help the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) raise awareness of the plight of elephants all over the world,” according to the news release “We’re attempting to break the Guinness World Records title for the largest display of origami elephants.”
The record-setting goal for the number of elephants WCS and its partners are hoping to create is based on matching the estimated 35,000 elephants killed each year for their ivory tusks.
Tuttle Publishing’s effort is part of a larger effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to break the world record for origami elephants. The previous record was 33,764, held by the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Great Britain, according to Ann Niklasson, a publicist for Tuttle.
“At the Wildlife Conservation Society, we don’t think the herd mentality is a bad thing. Elephant herds are close-knit, compassionate, and capable of great feats. We humans can also accomplish great feats when we work together!” organizers stated online.
According to Niklasson, WCS and their 96 Elephants campaign began soliciting individuals and organizations to help with the record attemp. Tuttle, which is well-known in the origami world for its books, kits and authors, heard about the effort not long after and decided to get involved.
In addition to the event held this past Saturday, Tuttle is also working with local schools, organizations, businesses and libraries to host other origami-folding events, Niklasson said. All events are free and Tuttle will provide free origami paper, she added.
“So far, town libraries in Castleton, Proctor, West Rutland and Poultney have committed to hosting an event (or two),” said Niklasson, adding, “We’ve received commitments from schools in Rutland, Castleton, Poultney, Ludlow and more!”
In order to meet the requirements for breaking the record, however, there are a few rules: elephants must be made from one of four templates (created by Tuttle authors), they must resemble elephants, they must be made from commercially available origami paper and they must be mailed to WCS by Sept. 16, according to the WCS website, pages.96elephants.org/origami.
Courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
Linda MacFarlane, of Rutland, who has hosted other origami-folding events at Rutland Regional and at the Rutland Free Library, will be the instructor.