5 Easy Ways to Help This World Elephant Day

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on August 10, 2015. Enjoy!

On August 12, World Elephant Day, animal lovers around the world will come together to celebrate elephants and support a future where they’re respected and protected.

World Elephant day was launched in 2012 by Canadian documentary filmmaker Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand. On the same day, Sims’ film “Return to the Forest“ premiered, exploring the journey and beautiful transformation that takes place when captive elephants are returned to their natural home.

Despite being a charismatic species loved by people of all ages, elephants in both Africa and Thailand are in serious trouble. Since the first World Elephant Day, concerned individuals, celebrities and dozens of organizations have joined in support because the threat of losing these unique creatures forever is becoming a very real possibility.

Poaching in Africa has reached unprecedented levels, which some believe could wipe elephants out entirely within the next 10 years if it continues at its current rate. And there are now estimated to be less than 40,000 Asian elephants left in existence. These animals continue to face the threat of poaching, habitat loss and being taken for the tourism industry.

Misty Herrin, #SaveElephants campaign director for The Nature Conservancy explained the motivation behind the holiday:

So many people around the world love elephants but aren’t aware that elephants are in crisis. World Elephant Day helps increase security for elephants and expand habitat because it creates an opportunity to raise a rallying cry. We have to turn up the volume about the elephant crisis in order to put more pressure on leaders to take meaningful action, attract desperately needed resources, and to convince people to not buy ivory.

Unfortunately, wild elephants aren’t the only ones in trouble. Animal advocates have also been working to end their exploitation in captivity and the entertainment industry. After all, elephants belong in the wild, not circuses, zoos or tourist attractions.

How to Help

This year elephant advocates will again step up to raise awareness about the plight of captive and wild elephants by hosting and attending events, urging officials to take action to protect elephants and using social media to gain support. And there are many easy ways to contribute to these efforts.

1. Don’t Buy Ivory

As the second largest market for ivory behind China, the U.S. has been called on by wildlife advocates to step up efforts to tackle wildlife trafficking with meaningful action. In 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service instituted a near-total ban on commercial trade of African elephant ivory, aiming to eliminate the domestic market.

It should go without saying, but even legal ivory and antique items keep the market afloat and help provide a cover for the illegal trade of ivory from recently killed elephants. So if you happen to come across any items containing ivory, check out your legal options here.

2. Support Elephant Sanctuaries

Learn about and support organizations working to give captive elephants a better life by returning them to natural environments like the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. In the U.S., check out the Elephant Sanctuary and the Performing Animal Welfare Society.

3. Be a Voice for Captive Elephants

While more and more areas are banning the use of wild animals in circuses — Ringling Bros. took a big step by announcing it would retire its elephant performers – there are still other traveling shows around the world that continue to use elephants.

We can send a strong message that it’s time to stop by avoiding companies and venues that continue to use them by speaking out for elephants like Nosey, who desperately need to be retired. Consider signing this Care2 petition asking Congress to pass the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would ban the use of wild animals in circuses for good.

We can also help give a voice to captive elephants who need help, like those in the Bronx Zoo and the Oregon Zoo.

4. Boycott Elephant Rides

While riding an elephant may seem like a fun and exotic experience, it often promotes animal cruelty — and can even fuel poaching. Next time you’re planning to travel to elephant habitat, consider visiting a sanctuary or wildlife preserve instead. Join more than 140,000 Care2 members in asking Lonely Planet to stop promoting elephant rides in its travel books.

5. Spread the Word  

If you’d like to raise awareness about elephants on social media, check out World Elephant day for badges and banners to share and add the following hashtags to your posts: #WorldElephantDay #GoGrey #BeHerd #Elegram #SaveElephants #JoinTheSTAMPede #96Elephants and #SayNoToIvory.

For more info on ways to help elephants and support organizations working to resolve conflicts and stop poaching, visit World Elephant Day.

Photo Credit: Stefan Rayner/Unsplash

320 comments

Melania P
Melania Padilla2 months ago

Yes, those are the top things you can do to help elephants. You can donate too, there are wonderful organizations helping animals from hell... Shared as well

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Thank you

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William C
William C3 months ago

Thank you.

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One Heart i
One Heart inc3 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Georgina M
Georgina M3 months ago

Elephants....Can we imagine the world without them?I can't. I do all I can to help

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Patricia Harris
Patricia Harris3 months ago

natasha s, it's only a losing battle if you don't push yourself even harder.

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Filomena C
Filomena C3 months ago

Thank you!

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heather g
heather g3 months ago

Lovely gesture - they look happy for once in their lives. Don't tell the poachers where the forest is.

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earthism info
earthism info3 months ago

good article

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One Heart i
One Heart inc3 months ago

Thanks!!!

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