Speaking Up for the Big Endangered Elephant in the Room

world elephant dayToday, August 12, is World Elephant Day. Various groups have joined forces to spread awareness about the decreasing number of elephants because of poaching, the destruction of wild habitats, and illegal ivory trade. This is the fourth annual World Elephant Day:

World Elephant Day has been created to bring the world together to help elephants. It is a day to honor elephants, to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival.

Misty Herrin, director for the Nature Conservancy, added that the #SaveElephants campaign aims to inspire the people all over the world to support initiatives that protect the welfare of elephants:

So many people around the world love elephants but aren’t aware that elephants are in crisis. World Elephant Day helps increase security for elephants and expand habitat because it creates an opportunity to raise a rallying cry.

Consumers and tourists are also encouraged to remember some of these tips when buying products or visiting countries that promote elephant tourism:

Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Be an elephant aware consumer.

Visit elephants in countries where they live in the wild – tourism benefits the economy, provides needed jobs, deters poachers and abuse, and gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty, intelligence, and emotional capacity of these magnificent giants.

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.

support elephant dayEndangered elephants

It is estimated that as few as 400,000 African elephants remain in the wild. Meanwhile, about 35,000 Asian elephants are left and are already considered endangered species.

Elephants once roamed across most of Asia, from Iraq into India and from Southern China to the islands of Indonesia. However, hunting and habitat destruction have reduced their range to just 15% of their former habitat. The species now only survives in small, highly fragmented areas in 13 countries.

In Laos, once known as the ‘land of a million elephants’, only 300 to 600 elephants are left.

In support of World Elephant Day, social media users are using these Twitter hashtags: #elegram,
#elphie, #JoinTheSTAMPede, and #WorldElephantDay

Through the #elegram, Internet users are uploading their drawings, sketches, doodles, and artworks of elephants:

Below are #elphie posts:

#JoinTheSTAMPede videos show individuals taking part in street activities to support the #SaveElephants campaign. Meanwhile, the #WorldElephantDay hashtag provides relevant information about the various threats on elephants:

John Calvelli, from the the Wildlife Conservation Society, reminds United States residents that they can help stop ivory trade:

The elephant crisis is not an ocean away; it is in our cities, at our doorstep, and at our fingertips online. The U.S. is one of the world’s largest ivory consumers and maintains a legal commercial ivory market that serves as cover for smuggled ivory, which is virtually impossible to differentiate from legal ivory without a costly scientific analysis.

…if we expect the rest of the world to work with us on stopping the potential extinction of Africa’s elephants, Americans must realize that the fight to save elephants is also taking place here at home.

The World Elephant Day is an international initiative co-founded by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and Patricia Sims.

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