SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - An internationally-acclaimed wildlife hero was in Santa Barbara Tuesday night for a special fundraiser.
A local group known as 'The Elephant Project' is raising awareness and funds for the dwindling Asian elephant population with a fundraiser at Junipero Serra Hall near the Santa Barbara Mission.
Experts say there are only 3,000 of the elephants left in Thailand; more than half are in captivity, used in circuses or the logging industries. Many are abused.
Babies are often taken from their mothers and the cost to rescue them is high, roughly $100,000.
Tuesday night's featured speaker is Lek Chailert, the founder of an animal sanctuary in Thailand.
"She has been recognized internationally on CNN, National Geographic, she was in the movie "Love and Bananas," and she also received Time Magazine's 'Asian Hero of the Year.' she's a tiny person with such a big heart," Kristina McKean, founder of The Elephant Project.
The event, called Trunks Up Santa Barbara, starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 9:30 p.m.