The New European (UK)

August 13, 2021 

Carrie Johnson’s latest charitable mission hasn’t quite broken the bank with its funding efforts, much to the dismay of the Aspinall Foundation

If the Aspinall Foundation had hoped that Carrie Johnson joining them would boost their coffers, they appear to be sadly mistaken.

Mandrake hears that the charity’s high profile fundraising to repatriate 13 elephants to Africa has so far come up with just £4,058 from the public in direct donations through the online charitable portal Just Giving.

Even a whip round among the charity’s rich backers managed to raise only £250,000, but that still brings the total to just a quarter of the £1 million target the foundation set itself for its re-wilding scheme.

When it was launched, Damian Aspinall promised: “By supporting the project, members of the public will be part of conservation history, helping restore an iconic species to its ancestral homeland.”

The project was announced last month and is described by the Aspinall Foundation as its “most ambitious project to date” and involves sending 10 adult elephants and three calves currently housed in eight acres at Howletts Wildlife Animal Park in Kent to sites in the south of Kenya.

Carrie, pictured, who joined the foundation in January as its communications chief, has her work cut out dealing with a succession of bad headlines. There’s a charity commission probe into its finances and signs of an exodus of trustees from its governing board, with Ben Goldsmith and nightclub owner Robin Birley reportedly heading for the exit.

The latest project came as news to the Kenyan authorities, who made the point that letting zoo elephants loose into the wild is easier said than done.