World Elephant Day
Date When Celebrated : This holiday is always held on August 12
Today is a huge, make that enormous international event. It's World Elephant Day. According to the creator and sponsors of this special holiday, the goal of this day is to raise awareness of the plight of the shrinking populations of African and Asian elephants.
Elephants have a huge and impressive footprint. They are the largest living land animal in the world. Despite their size, elephants can be tamed to the extent that humans can work with them. They can be taught to do work, including heavy lifting, and we can even catch a ride atop their massive backs. They've also been employed (sadly) in wars. They are beloved by children and adults alike, and by far are the most popular animal in zoos around the world.
Elephants are facing a struggle for survival. Here's the facts: Just 100 years ago, there was an estimated 5 to 12 million African elephants. Now, there is only approximately 400,000 African elephant left. There were about 1,000,000 Asian elephants 100 years ago. Now, there is just an estimated 20,000 to 40,000. Asian elephants are on the "Vulnerable Species" list, while their cousins African elephants are on the "Endangered Species" list. They need our help to survive.
Elephant populations are decreasing in numbers for several reasons. Poaching is perhaps the number one problem. Poachers hunt and kill them solely for their valuable ivory tusks, leaving the carcass behind. Poachers illegally hunt them in open ranges, as well as elephant sanctuaries. Loss of habitat is a another huge reason for their declining numbers. As human populations continually increase, more and more wildlife areas are razed and converted to farms to feed the ever growing need for food. That causes increasing conflict with humans, as the elephants roam into and damage farmlands. Mistreatment of elephants in captivity is also a stress on the steadily decreasing elephant population.
Celebrate World Elephant Day by supporting organizations that strive to protect the remaining elephants left in the wild.
Everyone's Favorite Elephant: It's a tie..... Dumbo and Mr. Snuffleupagus
World Elephant Day was conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Productions, along with Sivaporn Dardarnanda, the Secretary General of the "Elephant Reintroduction Foundation (ERF)" in Thailand. Patricia Sims and the ERF went on to create World Elephant Day in 2012.
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