Seriously, who doesn’t love elephants? Whether we see them in Africa or Thailand, in Disney’s Dumbo or Zootopia, elephants have and always will have a special place in our hearts. But, it’s time to talk about the “elephant in the room.” According to Elephants Forever’s website, with threats like poachers, shrinking natural land space for elephants to roam, as well as disease, elephant numbers are decreasing by the day. Plus, the African Wildlife Foundation reports that elephants do not reproduce quickly. So, what are we doing to care for these creatures so that they continue to be a part of our lives? What are we doing to ensure that these kingly animals will not fade into museums like wooly mammoths?
The World Wildlife Fund website lists five main ways they are working to protect elephants. They are using statistics and studies in order to learn more about these creatures so that they can better protect them. The WWF is also assisting locals by teaching them how to work with elephants and guard their homes and fields so that the elephants do not create damage. In addition, WWF helps bring enforcement against poachers and ivory traders, people who hunt elephants down and kill them. Finally, they also help ensure that elephants still have space to roam and live healthy lives. In a nutshell, the WWF website summarizes most of what is being done to defend elephant conservation globally.
There are several other conservation organizations that are also enacting some of these methods to protect elephants. For instance, the African Wildlife Foundation also helps locals so they know how to work with elephants. Plus, they too work to protect lands that are healthy environments and natural habitats for elephants. Practical matters and organizations such as these bring us one step closer to sustaining elephants for the future.
So, how can you be a part of elephant conservation? Here are five main ways:
- Stay up-to-date on news about elephant conservation/preservation. Many conservation organizations such as WWF offer newsletters and emails to receive in your inbox. By reading these, you can stay current on the latest ways people are working to protect these animals. New developments happen often, so staying informed is important in order to help these creatures.
- “Adopt” an elephant. As much as you wish it could happen, this is not literally adopting an elephant. You don’t get to have an elephant in your backyard. However, you can help sponsor an elephant so that they can be provided and cared for. Funds can go towards research, implementing protective measures (i.e. setting up fences, purchasing land for elephants), and even food (they definitely do not have small appetites). So sponsoring an elephant is an easy way for you to get involved.
- Encourage learning. In addition to helping elephants themselves, you can help people grow and learn through sponsorship of education! This will encourage students to want a better future for themselves and for their world. If we don’t have a desire to care for this world and help others care for it, then it will not matter what we do now to protect it. Learning plays a large part in elephant conservation.
- Be a part of World Elephant Day. World Elephant Day helps raise awareness about the global threat to elephants. You can be a part of it by learning about their cause and helping to share it and explain their goals. Find out more about World Elephant Day by visiting oworldelephantday.org.
- Volunteer with these amazing animals! Go and see these creatures in a conservation elephant home. Global Leadership Adventures has two whole programs dedicated to elephant conservation centered in Thailand. With them, you will be able to help volunteer with and learn about elephants, while also getting to see the beauty of Thailand. Oh, and did I mention hiking and white-water rafting? It is a win-win!
This world is our home. We have a responsibility to be good stewards so that the next generation will be able to call this their home, too. So let’s learn how to better care for creatures like elephants so that we can appreciate them in reality, not a history book.
Contributed by Addie Davis
“What WWF is Doing.” World Wildlife Fund, https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/elephant. Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
“Elephant.” African Wildlife Foundation, http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/elephant. Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
“Threats to Elephants.” Elephants Forever, http://www.elephantsforever.co.za/threats-to-elephants.html. Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
“How You Can Help.” Save the Elephants, http://savetheelephants.org/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2016.
World Elephant Day. World Elephant Day, 2016. http://worldelephantday.org/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2016.