Aug. 12

World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day is an annual international event held on August 12 dedicated to the conservation and protection of elephants. Created in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark, it is supported by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation.

The aim of World Elephant Day is to raise awareness about the urgent situation of African and Asian elephants and to share knowledge and positive solutions for better care of elephants in captivity and in the wild. African elephants are listed as vulnerable and Asian elephants as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Conservationists state that both African and Asian elephants are facing extinction within a few decades. Current population estimates are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants, although these numbers seem to be too high. The demand for ivory, which is highest in China, leads to illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants. Elephants are also hunted for meat, skin, and body parts, and the illegal trade in live animals exposes elephants to even more danger. The loss of habitat due to deforestation, mining, and agricultural activities has become a major problem, especially for Asian elephants. Habitat fragmentation also creates isolation, making it harder to breed and allowing poachers to easily find elephants and set traps. The conflict between humans and elephants is a significant problem as the human population grows and forest cover decreases, forcing elephants into close proximity to human settlements. Incidents include crop damage, economic losses, as well as casualties among both elephants and humans. The lack of legislation regarding the care and treatment of elephants in zoos, circuses, and tourism often leads to their mistreatment. Captivity can be a serious threat to elephants, and Asian elephants are often illegally captured in the wild and smuggled into the lucrative tourism industry.

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