HALE schoolgirl Siena Chae has won a prestigious national contest run by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to promote elephant protection.

As part of her prize, 10-year-old Siena joined winners from across the country in a special visit to the Houses of Parliament where the group was congratulated by MPs who admired their display of winning elephant pictures, aimed at raising awareness of the threat to elephants and to support efforts to end illegal poaching fuelled by the ivory trade.

A total of ten young winners had been chosen from art entries which came from pupils across the UK aged five to 16.

All were invited to Parliament where, as well as meeting MPs and representatives from IFAW, they also enjoyed a tour of Westminster by John Mann MP, who hosted the art display.

Neil Parish MP, chairman of the influential Environment Select Committee, also attended to meet the winners and add his voice to calls for an end to the ivory trade.

Withington Girls’ School Juniors' pupil Siena said, “I want to thank the IFAW for giving me these amazing memories and I hope my elephant colouring can help people to understand how important it is for all of us to not buy and sell ivories to save elephants and do what we can to help animals and their environments.”

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are very grateful for the support we have had for IFAW’s art contest and our fantastic winners.

"We were delighted to see the high quality of entries from these young artists who are helping spread our message that elephants need urgent protection.

"Time really is running out for elephants and if we do not act now it will be too late. There is sometimes a disconnect with members of the public realising the full effects of the ivory trade, but it is important to remember that every piece of ivory comes from a dead elephant.

"IFAW is running an ivory surrender for members of the public to give up their unwanted ivory so it can be put beyond use, and believes it is vital now more than ever that a domestic ivory trade ban is introduced in the UK.”