Save the Elephants Day highlights the plight of elephants across the world. Celebrate this important day and help save a beloved species!Elephants are revered for their beauty, strength, intelligence, and compassion. But soon this iconic species may only exist in memory. On Save the Elephants Day, April 16, let’s stand up for these amazing creatures and help prevent the extinction of yet another species! Elephant populations are rapidly decreasing at an unsustainable rate. According to Defenders of Wildlife, “At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000–700,000 African elephants and between 35,000–40,000 wild Asian elephants.” Unfortunately, elephants face many threats including habitat decline, climate change, and poaching. [caption id="attachment_8740" align="aligncenter" width="551"] Courtesy of Elephants DC[/caption]
While the elephant population continues to decline, we should be doing everything we can to protect them. Instead, our federal government is loosening up regulations to make it easier for hunters to bring trophies of elephants into the country. The recent reversal of an Obama-era rule allows hunters to import animal trophies from Endangered Species Act-listed species, such as elephants, with approval on an individual basis. Elephants do not need more loopholes, but strong protections. Not only are elephants amazingly intelligent animals but they play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity. Elephants help with the flow of water and building of pathways with their large bodies and trunks, and their feces also help disperse seeds and fertilize dry soil, helping to grow more vegetation. Beyond their environmental impacts, elephants are compassionate animals that live complex emotional lives. They mourn the death of others, form lifelong bonds, and fiercely protect their young, even visiting the grave of a deceased elephant weeks after the animal’s death. [caption id="attachment_8742" align="aligncenter" width="613"] Courtesy of Conservation Action Trust[/caption] Save the Elephant Day was created to show support and love for the beloved species and raise awareness of the threats they face. Elephants need us to do this now more than ever. There are many ways you can help elephants in Washington, D.C., on Save the Elephants Day and beyond:
- Attend the Outlaw All Ivory Trade rally outside of the Chinese embassy on Tuesday, April 17 at 11 a.m.
- Support Elephants D.C., whose mission is to end the ivory trade and advance elephant well-being worldwide. You can also support other groups, such as the African Wildlife Foundation, who are working internationally to save elephants and other vital African species.
- Visit elephants first-hand at the National Zoo!
- Call your legislators and tell them that elephant conservation is an important issue to you. Ask them to make sure elephants are protected from both illegal poachers and trophy hunters.
- Attend the Washington, D.C., March for Elephants on October 6, 2018.
- Don’t buy ivory, obviously! If someone you know enjoys ivory, take a second to educate them about the plight of elephants.
- Adopt an elephant! For a small donation, Defenders of Wildlife will give you an adorable adoption kit so you can own your own elephant without all the mess!