On Friday’s World Elephant Day, get to know these intelligent, majestic gardeners of the forest and savannas.
Elephants are intelligent, emotional creatures. Herd leaders are often chosen not for their dominance but rather for their intelligence and problem solving skills.
WHERE THEY ARE FOUNDSub Saharan Africa and Asia
WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANTElephants are majestic animals that are the gardeners of the forest and savannas, germinating many plants that do not grow without passing through their digestive system. Millions of tourists travel the globe each year to see them, helping to bring income and jobs to the tourism sector in countries where they live.
WHY THEY ARE THREATENED BY ILLEGAL TRADE Elephants are being poached in large numbers for their ivory. In recent years, experts have estimated that as many as 100,000 elephants were killed between 2010-2012. Ivory tusks are used for a range of products from bangles to religious icons to fine carvings. Collection, speculation and trading of high priced ivory items are now key drivers of the illegal killing of elephants.
CITES Listing: African and Asian elephants are included in CITES Appendix I except for the African elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, which are listed in Appendix II. International commercial trade in raw ivory is prohibited.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Don’t buy into trends that rely on products from endangered species. It’s cooler to wear and give gifts that are made from products that don’t threaten species. Don’t invest in ivory as a commodity or accept gifts from friends traveling abroad that are made from ivory. It is illegal to bring ivory trinkets from abroad! Learn more about community and conservation projects that support elephant conservation, as well as livelihoods for people living with elephants. Help to support these projects and to tell people about the plight elephants are facing through spreading the word about the importance of protecting wild elephants.