AN AWARD-WINNING Dorset artist is painting a lifesize portrait of an elephant in a car showroom to raise money for anti-poaching charities.

Jonathan Truss is working in the Mercedes-Benz of Poole showroom solidly for four weeks to complete the 15ft tall canvas. He is believed to be the first person to paint a lifesize elephant artwork, which will go on sale once completed.

The idea behind the painting, titled Tusker’s Last Stand, stemmed from Jonathan’s many trips to Africa, where he has been lucky enough to experience ‘big tuskers’, elephants with tusks over 100lbs each, in their natural habitat.

Jonathan said: “In recent times the world elephant population has been decimated by man. Once a species you could count in the millions, now in desperate trouble. And now, incredibly, there are quite likely as few as just 30 big tuskers left, just 30.

“If elephants are not protected, it is conceivable that they could be extinct within our lifetimes. Just think about that for a moment – that your grandchildren could only see an elephant in a zoo - how desperately sad is that?”

With an estimated 30,000 elephants poached illegally last year, approximately one every 15 minutes, Jonathan hopes the proceeds from the sale of the painting will provide support for independent charities working on the ground who help and protect both orphan baby and adult elephants.

The unveiling of Tusker’s Last Stand will take place on Wednesday, November 30, in the Mercedes-Benz of Poole showroom in Holes Bay Road. There will also be a chance to bid on the finished artwork in a silent auction.

For more information or to book your place at the event, visit