Image via worldelephantday.org/galleries
August 12th is World Elephant Day. The elephant population is decreasing due to a variety of reasons and they need our help and protection. The elephant population is decreasing (62% this past decade), as of 2011 the number of elephants dying and being killed are higher than what the population is able to reproduce and there is an increasing number of orphaned baby elephants whose mothers are killed for their tusks.
This information from their About Page explains why World Elephant Day (WED) was created.
The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.
World Elephant Day asks you to experience elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day, August 12, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild elephants alike.
So, that’s some of the bad news. The good news is that WED is also supported by The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and other similar-minded organizations that are listed on the Associates page.
The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization based in Thailand. Founded in 2002 as a Royal initiative of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, its mission is to reintroduce captive elephants into the wild, restore natural habitat with indigenous plants and wildlife, research and educate others about Asian elephants, and promote management of long-term survival of elephants in Thailand and around the world.
Did you know that the Asian elephant is endangered with less than 40,000 remaining worldwide? Or that the African elephant (Forest and Savannah) is threatened with less than 400,000 remaining worldwide?
Here’s some quick elephant facts (more are available here).
- There are two species of elephants, African and Asian, and while they are similar in physiology, they are too biologically different to interbreed.
- 2013 saw the greatest quantity of ivory confiscated in the last 25 years.
- The street value of a single tusk is approximately US$15,000.
- The main market for illegal ivory is China, where a single tusk can fetch $100,000–200,000.
- One out of every three Asian elephants left in the world is a captive animal.
- Recent research suggests that captive elephants suffer long-term depression over the trauma of their capture and captivity, as well as drastically shortened life spans.
And while it would be wonderful to have the means to support all the different causes and charities we are interested in, I know that’s not possible. Therefore, if you are so inclined, a link to a petition is at the bottom of each page of the WED web site should you wish to add your name. Each signature, blog post, news story and chat with friends and colleagues help.
Here are other ways you can help. Check out the link for the full list and this list of organizations who are Associates of World Elephant Day.
- Study elephants in their “keystone” role in the environment and interrelationships with plants and other animals because all of nature is interconnected.
- Learn about and support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict.
- Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products.
- Support organizations that are protecting wild elephant habitat.
- Support organizations that are building natural sanctuaries and alternative habitat for domesticated elephants to live freely.
- Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit.
- If you wish to experience elephants in their natural environment, choose eco-tourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity.