If you love elephants or wildlife in general, you want to save the date for World Elephant Day! This international holiday is on August 12 and has been celebrated every year since 2012.
World Elephant Day is a holiday to raise awareness about the declining elephant populations worldwide and shine a light on the conservation strategies for African and Asian elephants.
At For Elephants, we are an elephant nonprofit dedicated to the survival of African elephants through research, conservation and education. This year, we want to share five reasons why elephants need your help to survive.
Elephant populations continue to decline.
Although elephant nonprofit organizations are making many efforts to save elephant populations, elephant populations are still declining. Researchers have found decreasing population numbers in Asian elephants, African savanna and African forest elephants.
The latest assessment found that the number of African forest elephant populations fell by 86 percent over a period of 31 years, and African savanna elephant populations have declined by at least 60 percent over 50 years. There are an estimated 415,000 African elephants left in the wild.
As for Asian elephants, their populations have decreased by 50 percent over the past 75 years. There are an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.
Elephants are at risk of becoming extinct.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a Red List of Threatened Species that evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species. Currently, it classified African forest elephants as critically endangered and African savanna elephants as endangered. As for Asian elephants, they are also currently classified as endangered.
Elephants are killed for their ivory.
One of the reasons why elephant populations continue to fall is due to poachers. These people hunt down elephants for ivory. Poachers kill elephants for their tusks that they then sell on illegal wildlife trades. The World Wildlife Fund reports that around 20,000 African elephants are killed each year (around 55 elephants a day.)
Elephants are losing their homes.
In the wild, elephants are found in grasslands and forests of both Africa and Asia. With the increase of human populations, many of these elephants have found themselves losing their homes. Humans have encroached on their habitats due to farming and infrastructure development.
Human encroachment has caused elephant and human conflicts to rise. Elephants can roam into farmers' crops and villages in search of food or water. This action may put the life of elephants and humans at risk. One hundred humans and 40-50 elephants are killed in India alone every year due to crop-raiding. Luckily, elephant nonprofit organizations are providing strategies to prevent these deaths.
African elephants are not self-sustaining in zoos.
Zoos give people a closer look at elephants into how they look, smell and sound. Sadly, African elephant populations are not self-sustaining in U.S. zoos. Researchers have found that elephant zoo deaths exceed elephant births - three births vs. five deaths annually. The zoo African elephants’ increasing infertility rates are to blame. Studies have found that infertility rates have increased from 22 to 45 percent over seven years.
Support an elephant nonprofit today!
One of the ways you can help elephants is by supporting an elephant nonprofit, like us! Our research is helping improve the lives of zoos and wild elephants so that they can thrive. You can support our research by making a donation. Join our “Herd of Heroes” program to make a monthly donation of your choice. Register down below!