World Elephant Day has arrived! On August 12, 2012 the first World Elephant Day was launched to draw attention to the plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures all over the world, yet we are dangerously close to losing this magnificent animal forever. Since 2012, strides have been made to educate people about the escalation of poaching, habitat loss and elephant mistreatment in captivity. On this special day, we need to celebrate the elephant and learn about ways to help protect these beautiful animals. Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair says it well: “We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.” Here are some sobering facts:
- The Asian Elephant is considered endangered with less than 40,000 remaining worldwide
- The African Elephant is considered threatened with less than 400,000 remaining worldwide
- The Asian and African elephant are two different species and while they are similar in physiology, they are too biologically different to interbreed
- 2013 saw the greatest quantity of ivory confiscated in the last 25 years
- The main market for illegal ivory is China, where a single tusk can fetch $100,000-$200,000
- Asian elephants range in 14 countries. In the past 50 years, the Asian elephant range has shrunk by over 70%
- In Asia, there are approximately 70,000 people to 1 elephant across their range
- There were over 100,000 elephants in Thailand at the beginning of last century. There are less than 4000 today.
- One out of every three Asian elephants left in the world is a captive animal
Here are some positive things you can do:
- Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products
- Support organizations that are protecting wild elephant habitat
- Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit
- Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants
- Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products
- Be aware of elephant habitat – do not buy coffee that is not fair-trade or shade-grown, nor products with palm oil. These commercial crops are grown in plantations that have decimated elephant habitats.
- Educate people about elephants
- Use your love of elephants and World Elephant Day, August 12, to start a conversation with the next person you meet.
To celebrate the magnificent elephant, lifehearthome.com is proud to spotlight our beautiful collection of elephant themed products featuring our stunning Kate Mesta elephant necklace. You might also enjoy the cute zipper pull from Thailand or the beaded elephant keychain from Guatemala.