Dumbo is one, Kala Nag another and Horton yet another one. Who are they? Elephants, of course.
August 12 is celebrated as World Elephant Day. Created by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand, the day was meant to bring attention to the plight of elephants and threats to their survival.
The two major threats they face today is human greed for ivory and habitat loss. Trade in ivory, though banned in many countries, continues to thrive. In the black market, it is said to cost more than the value of gold, making poaching a lucrative activity. Loss of habitat has reduced their feeding pastures and confined them to smaller spaces making it easier for poachers to hunt them down.
A hundred years ago, there were more than 12 million elephants in the wild. Today, there may be only around 400,000.
- Elephants are intelligent.
- They are family-oriented.
- They have great memory.
- They are capable of feeling joy, grief, elation, empathy.
- They have a great sense of self-awareness.
- They live in complex, supportive societies just like humans.
What you can do
- Find out more about elephants from books and documentaries like Return to the Forest (2012). Share this knowledge with friends and family.
- Spread the word through social media. Talk about the dangers and threats they face.
- Training these gentle giants for use on safaris and in holiday camps often involves beating them into submission. Create awareness about this, so that these activities lose popularity.
- Do not buy ivory products.
- Finally, remember, No one in the world needs an elephant tusk except an elephant.