How You Can Celebrate World Elephant Day
Why are elephants so amazing?
- African elephants are the largest mammals on the planet and are often referred to as ‘gentle giants’
- They express many emotions such as humor, grief, and compassion
- Elephants are natural born environmentalists and help with the dispersion of seeds in their environment
- They are resourceful geniuses. Did you know they cover their skin with dust and mud to prevent sunburn?
- Elephants are loving parents and make great friends. They do this by forming extremely strong bonds with other elephants.
Unfortunately, elephants face many challenges and most of them are caused by humans. One of the largest ways in which the elephant population is threatened is from poaching. Although poaching is illegal, an African elephant’s ivory tusks are worth more than gold in some countries causing elephants to be killed at a rate of 70,000 per year. Because of their smaller tusk size, this is less of a concern for Asian elephants. Habitat loss and large game trophy hunts are other ways in which the elephant community is threatened today.
Along came World Elephant Day…
Since 2012, August 12th has been observed as World Elephant Day. On this day, the world comes together to honor and bring attention to Asian and African elephants by improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and introducing former captive elephants to sanctuaries. This day helps spread awareness and create solutions for both wild and captive elephants.
How you can celebrate World Elephant Day
World Elephant Day was created to celebrate these beautiful creatures as well as raise awareness for them. According to the World Elephant Day Website a great way to celebrate World Elephant Day is to BEE. Become Elephant Ethical. Here are five ways in which you can BEE.
Follow ethical tourism guidelines. Being an ethical elephant tourist consists of choosing activities and destinations where elephants aren’t used for rides or tricks and do provide education on elephant welfare.
Support elephant conservation. Conservation is action! There are many conservation organizations that have been created to help and honor elephants. You can help by donating to these organizations and taking advantage of the educational materials that they provide.
Protecting habitats for wild elephants. Some items like coffee and timber are grown in areas that were once elephant habitats. You can support elephants by buying certified fair-trade coffee and timber that is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
Don’t support places that exploit elephants for entertainment. Captive elephants face a lifetime of abuse for the purpose of entertainment. Companies that offer elephant rides and circuses that use elephants as performers often keep them in enclosures that are too small. Boycotting this form of entertainment could reduce the number of captive elephants.
Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Although illegal, some shops sell ivory from elephant tusks as trinkets and jewelry. Refusing to buy ivory products can reduce the demand for this material and help show your solidarity with elephants.
Get crafty. Looking for other ways to celebrate World Elephant Day? Find a fun craft to try with your friends and family like the one I did. By repurposing old forks, on member of Team Fanimal created an elephant pendant that I can use as a necklace or keychain. Something like this is a great conversation starter to spread the word about our elephant pals and what we can do to keep them safe all year long!
Plan an elephant friendly trip!
If you are really interested in elephants, make a commitment to yourself to save up for an elephant related trip. Trips to a certified elephant sanctuary or volunteer program can be fun, educational, and beneficial to elephants. Here are some places to consider!
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The Elephant Sanctuary located in Hohenwald, Tennessee is a true sanctuary and is closed to the public, however; you can apply to become a volunteer. While there is no guarantee that you will see an elephant in person, there will be an opportunity to help further the mission of the Elephant Sanctuary in many ways. For more information on the Sanctuary: https://www.elephants.com/
Animal Experience International. Through this organization you can volunteer with the Elephant Rescue Center in Thailand where you can help prepare meals for elephants, clean enclosures, and walk elephants to pools and rivers. For more information on AEI: https://www.animalexperienceinternational.com/