World Elephant Day was started in 2012 in an effort to raise awareness for the plight of elephants and bring the world together to help support and protect these majestic pachyderms of the bush. A signal of strength in Africa, the mighty elephant is revered by thousands and yet faces very real threats from the outside world.
What’s threatening our elephants?
Elephant-human conflict and habitat loss are some of the biggest issues facing Africa’s elephants. Because a vast amount of elephant habitat still extends beyond protected areas, it continues to be lost to humans’ rapidly developing agricultural industry. When passing elephants damage crops, this can lead to anger from locals, who will sometimes retaliate by killing them. The other main, perhaps more well-known, threat is poaching and hunting, with tens of thousands of elephants killed every year for their tusks and as trophies.
How you can help
Never buy ivory products
A high demand for ivory has resulted in a huge increase in poaching throughout Africa over recent years. Help to lower the demand for ivory by not buying any ivory products in South Africa or abroad.
Avoid elephant-back safaris
The chance to get close to elephants, and even ride them, is an almost irresistible temptation for many travellers. But what many of the companies offering elephant rides in Africa don’t tell you about is the training involved in making the elephants complacent enough to be ridden. Many of these elephants are trained with bull-hooks and sticks to ‘break’ them into submission. They are also sometimes taken away from their mothers at a young age – a cruel act for an animal that is so emotionally mature. Help look after our elephants by steering clear of these kinds of activities altogether.
Support pachyderm protectors
While most of us would love to pack up our bags, leave it all behind and spend our days caring for the wildlife of the world, unfortunately this dream will remain just that for all but a lucky few. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help though. You can still support organisations that are committed to elephant and wildlife conservation through a donation. Volunteer programmes such as SANParks Honorary Rangers work hard to protect and monitor wildlife in South Africa. Donate and help to make a difference.
Get a Free MySchool Card
An easy way to contribute to elephant and wildlife protection is by getting a free MySchool Card. MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme has a number of wildlife organisation beneficiaries, such as Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, WWF and Wild Life Act, as well as the Wilderness Foundation, which runs a dedicated Mali Elephant Programme for the monitoring and protection of elephants. When signing up for a free MySchool card, you are able to choose the organisations and causes closest to your heart and give back a percentage of your purchase value every time you swipe at one of our partner stores.