World Elephant Day
Facts about elephants…
There are two living species of elephant: the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus).
They are the largest land mammals on Earth, weighing on average 6,000 kilograms.
One individual elephant eats over 200 kilograms of food a day, including trees, shrubs, grasses and aquatic plants.
They are extremely social and live in family groups, communicating with each other using body language and sounds. Elephants can produce very low-frequency sounds (14-24 Hz) that can’t be heard by humans, called infrasound.
Elephants are one of the most endangered animals in the world, hunted for their ivory tusks, which are their very enlarged incisor teeth.
What is this day all about?
World Elephant Day (August 12) is a day to not only learn and talk about these beautiful mammals, but also to draw awareness to their plight for survival. Elephants come into contact with people when their habitat is encroached upon by human development. Elephants travel vast distances to find enough food and water and sometimes leave the safety of the parks created for their protection and move into unprotected areas or farmlands where they run into poachers and unhappy farmers whose crops just got eaten or trampled by the traveling herd.
The trade of ivory or ivory products is prohibited and closely monitored by governments all over the world, but some slips through the cracks and ends up in the black market. According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), in the last 40 years elephant populations in Tanzania has decreased by 90%! And the saddest part of this statistic is that these numbers are from inside one of the oldest and largest protected areas in Africa. So even within the “safe” areas, the elephant populations are declining…all for a tooth…seriously, a tooth?
What can you do to help?
A simple thing you can do for elephants is donate to reputable organizations that focus efforts on elephant conservation. Never buy anything made of elephant ivory (tusk). If there is no demand for ivory, then the poachers will have no reason to hunt elephants, right? Also talk and discuss about these issues, the more we hear about it, the more others become aware of elephant conservation. Elephants play their role in the ecosystem as browsers, selecting for hardy plant species and types. Their dung acts as fertilizer everywhere they roam. Without the elephants of the world, the African and Indian ecosystems would look very different.
If you google “elephant conservation” the amount of information generated is very plentiful, and it can be overwhelming. Here are some reputable resources for you, if you’d like to learn more about elephant conservation efforts and about World Elephant Day. #worldelephantday
The African Wildlife Federation: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/elephant
The World Wildlife Federation: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/elephant
World Elephant Day: http://worldelephantday.org/
96 Elephants: https://www.96elephants.org/