Elephants: the gentle giants of the Earth. And how could you not love those oversized ears, resourceful trunks and, at times, playful demeanor? But elephants are in danger, due mainly to ivory poachers.
According to World Elephant Day’s website, “Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade.” They add, “An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining.”
National Geographic reported, however, that “the mean estimate of the Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE) dropped below 5 percent for first time since 2009 [and…] prices of raw ivory in China dropped by more than 50 percent between 2014 and 2015.” Though key initiatives have helped get the figures to this point, there is still a long way to go before elephants can be considered safe.
It’s of paramount importance that we humans care for these animals because they play key roles in “maintaining the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live.” According to the organization Save the Elephants, elephants use their tusks to dig for water during the dry season, certain elephants’ eating patterns help new plants grow by providing gaps in the vegetation, as well as seed dispersal; and, in the savannah, help keep the plains open, which helps support the animals that inhabit those ecosystems.
Check out how you can help save the elephants on World Elephant Day and every day.
Charities and Foundations
Save the Elephants
Save the Elephants works to secure a future for elephants and work to sustain of the areas they live through multiple projects. They research and monitor elephant behavior and ecology, work to protect elephant communities from ivory poachers and traffickers, promote human-elephant coexistence and spread awareness around the globe.
International Elephant Foundation
The International Elephant Foundation work to create a sustainable future for elephants by supporting “conservation, education, research and management programs worldwide.” According to their vision statement, they are “the catalyst for creating a sustainable future where elephants thrive by linking people and elephants for their mutual long-term benefit.”
African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation works to ensure that elephants have plenty of room to roam by setting aside land for wildlife use and well as promoting conservation efforts in some cases as well. They also work with community members to help take care of the elephants. Not only does this help the elephants, but it also helps provide employment opportunities to local communities, according to their website. The organization’s overarching mission is to work with the people of Africa to protect its lands and wildlife.
World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund advocates for an end to the commercial selling of elephant ivory. WWF focuses on protecting elephants’ habitats, stopping the illegal ivory trade, working with locals to strengthen anti-poaching initiatives, as well as reducing the conflict between elephants and humans, according to their website. They also offer options to become involved, such as backing rangers and adopting an African elephant.
Elephants Without Borders
Elephants Without Borders promotes conservation efforts by identifying wildlife migratory corridors and securing their habitats, according to their website. Their vision is “to open borders for Africa’s wildlife through education and research, [which] will help ensure future generations share their lives with these great giants.”
Big Life Foundation
The Big Life Foundation protects 2 million acres of wilderness in East Africa. According to their website, by “using innovative conservation strategies and collaborating closely with local communities, partner NGOs, national parks, and government agencies, Big Life seeks to protect and sustain East Africa’s wildlife and wild lands, including one of the greatest populations of elephants left in East Africa.” They envision a future where “conservation supports the people and people support conservation.”
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust works to ensure the preservation of Africa’s lands and endangered species, such as elephants. According to their mission statement, the organization “embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.” One of their core conservation efforts is the Orphans’ Project, which rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephants and rhinos.
WildAid works to stop the ivory trade and reduce the consumption of wildlife products “by persuading consumers and strengthening enforcement,” therefore, reducing the demand for it. Working 365 days a year, they hope to expose illicit ivory markets, educate consumers and empower locals to protect wildlife, according to their World Elephant Day pledge. Last year, Lupita Nyong’o joined their team as a Global Elephant Ambassador.
The Elephant Pants
The Elephant Pants donates a portion of each sale to the African Wildlife Foundation to help prevent elephant poaching. Pants patterns are also named after elephants and their stories are provided in each description. According to their site, “$104,725 has been donated to the African Wildlife Foundation and other great charitable organizations.”
The Ella bracelet from DivinityLA helps support the International Elephant Foundation and sports a cute little elephant. $1 is donated from each sale. According to their site, each of their pieces “has its own meaningful character and purpose,” which provides value in day-to-day life. The Ella elephant bracelet represents patient and strength, in addition to clarity and creativity. Other bracelets include sea turtles, pandas and penguins.
Ivory Ella donates a portion of each sale to Save the Elephants and other charities, which has totaled nearly $680,000 over the years, according to their website. Their products include shirts with elephants printed on them, an elephant necklace and even elephant-themed phone cases. According to their story, they seek “to inspire, guide and motivate you to live a life with the ideals of an elephant: Empathy, creativity, strength, and loyalty.”
One of the causes that Florence Scovel jewelry supports is Save the Elephants. A portion of each sale from the collection is donated to that organization. Products include a cuff bangle, an elephant necklace and adorable love keychain set. According to their Save the Elephants page, “We can save elephants by implementing stronger protection policies for wild elephants, stronger enforcement and legislative measures against the poaching and illegal trade of ivory and advocate for better management of natural elephant habitats.”
How are you raising awareness about elephants today?
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