WJTV News Channel 12 - Apex boy makes bracelets, raises money to help rescued elephants

Apex boy makes bracelets, raises money to help rescued elephants

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APEX, N.C. -

A 7-year-old boy from Apex is taking his love of elephants to another level by raising money for them.

Ethan Paxton loves elephants, plain and simple. 

"I just like them and I think they don't deserve to be treated meanly and they need to be saved," said Ethan. 

And while most children cherish their stuffed animals, Ethan spends his time cherishing real-life elephants. 

"He's always had an obsession with elephants, it kind of started with this stuffed elephant he's had since he was a baby, and it grew into an overall obsession with anything to do with elephants," said Katie Paxton, Ethan's mother. 

His passion progressed into a lofty goal. 

"I'm trying to save them and give them things that they need," said Ethan.

Ethan has learned about the dangers poachers pose to wild elephants. Last year he asked his first grade teacher what he could do to help. She suggested he visit website for The Elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. It's the biggest natural refuge in the country for rescued elephants. 

Ethan says he watches them on the website's Elecam when he comes home from school. 

"When they are playing around, they also have emotions and they can smile, and when they wave their trunks up that means they're happy and it means good luck," said Ethan. 

So to help the animals he loves, Ethan is making and selling bracelets with elephant charms through his Facebook page Ethan's Elephant Project to pay for items on The Elephant Sanctuary's wish list. 

In just a week, he raised nearly $200. First on the wish list: dried cranberries. 

"He picked 25 pounds of dried cranberries because that's a treat that elephants like to eat. So, I think that was $136, so now I think we're working on his next goal," said Paxton.

Ethan is hoping to raise enough money to buy the elephants more treats, one bracelet at a time. 

"We didn't want to look back and think he could have done something amazing as a child and we didn't help him do that," said Paxton. 

Each bracelet costs $6. You can learn more about Ethan's Elephant Project here.

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