World Elephant Day
They’re intelligent. They’re family-oriented. They are great at remembering things. They can feel a variety of deep emotions. These include intense grief, joy, and elation. They can create supportive, complex societies that are similar to ours.
All of this and more makes elephants a wonderful choice. Yet, every year many elephants are killed for their ivory by greedy poachers. The carcasses of these animals then rot in the sun. Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair said it best:
While elephants are admired for their human qualities, the way they are treated by humans is the worst.
World Elephant Day is a great opportunity to learn more about these incredible animals and to do our part to protect and preserve them.
World Elephant Day was established in 2011 by Patricia Sims, a Canadian filmmaker, and Thailand’s Elephant Reintroduction Foundation. It was first celebrated on August 12, 2012. William Shatner, Star Trek legend and film star, supported the initiative greatly. He narrated Return to the Forest (30 minutes) about the reintroductions of Asian elephants to the wild.
The first World Elephant Day was established to raise awareness about the suffering of these magnificent creatures among cultures and populations around the globe. The world’s largest land animal is loved by everyone because of their intelligence and friendly nature. Unfortunately, their survival is at risk.
The ivory trade is a major problem. The ivory trade is a major problem. In China, where the ivory price often exceeds the price for gold, there is a huge demand. The economics of this country are firmly against the humble elephant. The extreme poverty levels in Africa make it possible to earn a month’s salary or more selling ivory from one animal.
Additionally, ivory-demanding countries like China are becoming more wealthy and can afford to pay higher prices for their tusks. This combination makes elephant poaching one the most lucrative and profitable activities in the plant.
The loss of habitat is also a threat to the elephant population. It deprives them of hundreds of pounds of food every day. This makes it harder for them to breed and makes it easier for poachers who can track them down. Research shows that elephants are dying in their natural habitats. They were more than 12,000,000 in the wild a century ago. Today, they may only be 400,000 with as many as 21,000 poachers killing them each year.
According to data, the elephants’ geographic range decreased by about 30 percent between 2002-2011. There was also a significant loss of savannah that they could roam. Although habitat destruction has stabilized with the introduction of large parks in Africa, illegal poaching continues to be a serious threat. Tourism and circuses are serious threats to the well-being of animals.
World Elephant Day offers everyone the chance to come together and find solutions to conflict between humans, elephants, and other animals. A combination of strategies is likely to be the solution. This could include land development to minimize habitat destruction, electric fencing to keep elephants from farms, and changing local attitudes.
Celebrities and politicians are becoming more interested in the cause, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashley Judd and President Barack Obama.
This day can be celebrated by sharing your knowledge and learning from others. Spreading the word via social media about the dangers faced by these majestic mammals can make a difference.
Your sharing of World Elephant Day’s Facebook posts may have influenced an old high school friend who is going to Thailand for her honeymoon. She might decide to skip the elephant ride after realizing that “training” elephants involves repeatedly tying and beating them for many months.
The documentary takes only half an hour to watch, but it is sure to open your eyes and show you some of the incredible landscapes. You can also make a donation to a foundation that protects elephants from poachers, or relocates them to better-suited locations.
Sign the World Elephant Day pledge. You can sign this document along with many others around the globe to pressure governments to change their policies.
The organizers also ask that people promote ethical elephant hashtags to their social media accounts. This will raise awareness about the abuse of animals around the world, as well as in the tourism industry.
It is important to avoid buying ivory products. Always ensure that you verify the manufacturer did not use elephant tusks during the manufacturing process of pianos, antiques, and other products.
Supporting organizations that work to preserve natural elephant habitats is also possible. These areas are at risk due to population pressures in sub Saharan African countries and India, which are growing rapidly.
You can also invest in projects that provide sustainable, lucrative livelihoods for people who live next to elephants. These programs help improve the economic situation of locals so they don’t feel like they have to poach in order to survive.
Whatever way you prefer, ensure that you spend the day helping elephants around the world. This will allow us to continue to admire their unique way of living and help them. You can make a difference by playing your part.