World Elephant Day is an annual event organized by the World Elephant Society to raise awareness of the issues facing the elephant population. If you think elephants are really cool like I do, it is a great opportunity to learn more about them and what you can do to help.
Elephants in Africa and Asia face serious threats to their survival from poaching, habitat loss, human–animal conflict, and mistreatment in captivity. But there are many organizations and individuals who are working to find solutions that will save them. Read more about it >
Elephants are fascinating creatures! Learning about their behaviors and the role they play in the environment can help put the issues they face into perspective. Here are some places to get started…
Visit elephants in the wild in Africa. Tourism benefits local economies by providing jobs and deterring poachers. And, you get to have the experience of a lifetime by observing incredible beasties freely doing their thing When you travel, choose tourism companies that support local elephant conservation projects.
Visit organizations that care for elephant orphans like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya (I have been eager to visit for a while and hope to do so soon).
But be mindful to avoid elephant camps and activities that exploit and mistreat the elephants. For example, some elephants are forced to carry people on their backs in boxes / chairs where they are overloaded and overworked causing dehydration and health issues. If you see this practice when you travel and are so inclined, become an advocate for the humane treatment of elephants in captivity.
Learn about conservation organizations that are focused on protecting wild elephant habitats and implementing sustainable solutions for human-elephant conflicts. You can also learn about the organizations that run sanctuaries for former captive elephants to live freely with other elephants.
Be aware of business models that put elephant habitats at risk. For example, some coffee plantations can damage habitats. When buying wood products, buy them from companies are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit that promotes responsible forest management.
Before you head out to any animal related attraction or event do a bit of research to see how the animals are treated.
Elephants in captivity for entertainment and religious purposes are sometimes mistreated. Look for places that treat their elephants with respect and dignity.
Become an advocate… If you see a situation where elephants are mistreated and are moved to take action, spread the word and urge the company to retire the elephants so they can go to a sanctuary to live with other elephants.
Be an elephant aware consumer and don’t buy ivory. Do buy products that support elephant conservation and care.
Become an advocate for the banning of ivory sales in your state or country if it is not already banned. Currently, ivory sales are illegal in California, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington.
You can also support organizations that are working to stop poaching.
Celebrate successes like the recent ivory ban in China and programs like Elephants and Bees that mitigate the human-animal conflict. Find out when your help is needed to be an advocate. If you are so inclined, donate to support programs that are close to your heart like anti-poaching or elephant orphan care. Follow elephant organizations on social media and subscribe to their newsletters. Share what you learn with others!