By Rachel Thomas
Not many 13-year-olds would shackle their ankles and stroll Auckland's Queen St - but not many 13-year-olds are in the business of saving elephants.
Jack Lanting's march, which happened on Sunday, was part of his effort to raise his share of $16,000 to buy his second elephant and send it to a sanctuary in Thailand.
So far $13,000 has been raised between Jack, his mum Viv, and Auckland friend Tracey Hand.
Shackled is how the Te Awamutu student found his first elephant, Kwan Jai, during a trip to Thailand in 2010. He'd just learned how poachers steal the animals' ivory tusks and torture them.
That year, aged 9, he raised $20,000 to buy Kwan Jai and send her to an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
She had one tooth and a broken spirit, but Jack loved her like family, visiting her frequently until she died early last year.
"Each elephant has a different sense of humour," said Jack, who wants to be an elephant vet.
"Some are wickedly evil, some have spunk."
Jack's latest fundraising effort has seen him shed his mop of hair, which got him a few stern warnings at St John's College, and sport an elephant's face on the back of his head.
Barber Darren Siteine of Dinsdale shop Barber Kingz donated his services to help the youngster's cause.
Along with Kwan Jai, Jack's circle of elephant friends include Tong Tei, who tragically bled to death after poachers stole his tusks, and Lily, the first elephant Jack met and the namesake of his fundraising campaign.
Jack and Viv aim to return to Thailand to choose an elephant in January.
To donate to Jack's cause, ask for A Life Like Lily charity account at any Westpac bank or email alifelikelily@ xtra.co.nz