Elephant fans Kris and Liliane have been committed to eradicating elephant herpes since 2018 – the year Qiyo died. The duo raises money by having all kinds of items printed – mugs, fluorescent jackets, playing cards, towels… – with photos of Qiyo. They then sell them to other elephant fans. Chief zookeeper Ben Van Dyck wants to emphasize that the action is also a heart for the caretakers by making a lino for the benefit of the action.
“Kris and Liliane have been doing their best for our animals for so long that I thought it was time to give something back to them too. I’m a graphic designer by training and I draw every day because I love doing it, ”he says. “To support the action of these ladies, I suggested making a lino myself. I chose a picture of Dumbo as a tribute to her because she was our matriarch for many years. She died in 2020 when she was 44. Therefore, it became a limited edition, 44 copies, which we sold for 44 euros. ”
“They were sold out in four days,” Kris adds. She is the main driving force behind the actions, as a super elephant fan and hobby photographer she takes care of pictures and promotion of the action. Liliane provides logistical and moral support.
During the collection of the products, Ben Van Dyck personally distributed the linocuts. Kris Lamon received copy number 1. This was followed by 43 more elephant fans. Ann Maerckaert (44) from Schelle is one of them. “I’m here especially for the lino, absolutely. Like Kris, I’m an incredible fan of the elephants and of taking pictures. That’s how we meet each other. I wholeheartedly support her action. Mostly on only a sponsored budget without buying “things because I like durability and do not want to take something I do not actually use. But I think such a unique lino is beautiful. I am looking for a nice place for it in my living room.”
With the sale of the linocuts, Ben on his own injected almost 2,000 euros into Kris’ campaign budget. “And so we have the magic mark of 25,000 euros in view, we just are not there, but with the autumn promotion we should easily reach it. I am very happy, very grateful and also a little proud of the result. We did it together as elephant fans, it’s amazing. “
The money goes to the Qiyo Foundation, which is used by the KMDA to co-finance international research into elephant herpes. That research is still ongoing, and in the meantime a device for the money has been purchased in Planckendael, with which the blood values of the elephants can be tested daily. For example, herpes can be detected at a very early stage and can be used immediately if the values differ. The daily tests are paid for with the money from, among other things, Kris’ actions.
Unfortunately, it is necessary to continue the investigation. “It was proven again last weekend. Beco, a 13-year-old elephant, died of herpes at the Columbus Zoo in the United States. Normally it is said that the animals are really susceptible to it until they are ten years old, but you see: we “The problem is that almost all animals in zoos carry the virus, but fortunately the disease does not always break out. If she does break out anyway, it usually goes incredibly fast,” Ben explains.
Qiyo died 17 minutes after being diagnosed. By constantly monitoring the animals, caregivers hope to have a chance to beat the disease. ‘It has already been achieved in other zoos, but it still looks like coffee grounds. So we continue for a while “, Kris and Liliane say firmly. “Research in Utrecht is underway, and every now and then it looks like a breakthrough is on the way, but there is no white smoke yet. As long as there is no vaccine, we will continue to raise money. Qiyo’s terrible “Death must not have been in vain. We owe it to her.”
If you want to order something yourself, you can send an email to email@example.com, Saturday morning from kl. 9.30 to 12.00 she is back in parking lot 1 in Planckendael. With a little luck, she can still have your favorite item in stock.