Seen any mammoths lately? Like modern elephants, they were contemporaries of Homo sapiens, and therein lies the problem. Threats to the largest land mammal on earth include the loss and degradation of habitat, and poaching for ivory. In 1989 international trade in ivory was banned, but underground markets still thrive in some countries, with a growing demand from Asians, particularly Chinese, who consider car ownership and ivory decorations the ultimate signs of affluence.
Surprisingly, the greatest threat to the beasts is conflict with human farmers. Voracious elephant appetites conflict with humans trying to feed their own families. The World Wildlife Federation is attempting to eliminate conflict between people and elephants, mobilizing and educating communities. Protecting crops requires proper land use, allowing for seasonal movement of herds. WWF is attempting to educate populations in proper land management and techniques for protecting crops. Additionally, they are instilling an appreciation for wildlife tourism as an economic resource. Efforts include training park guards, monitoring elephant movement and developing techniques to protect crops.
You and I can participate in the effort to preserve these magnificent creatures through World Wildlife Federation’s Adopt an Elephant Program. Eighty-four percent of the program’s spending goes directly to conservation efforts. Charity Navigator gives a high rating to the 501C3 charity. Gift options range from $25 to $250. An adoption certificate is included with each gift package. Next time you’re shopping for a birthday present, why not adopt an elephant?
A second, fun way to help elephants is through The Nature Conservancy’s #elegram Project. Doodle, draw, sculpt, paint, or sew an elephant and post it on social media, matching your #elegram with a donation. Learn more about the plight of elephants at The Nature Conservancy . CLick for written elegram instructions
Now sit back and celebrate World Elephant Day, August 12, 2015, by watching a 30-minute documentary, Return to the Forest , and take pride in knowing you’ve helped conserve an amazing species.
Picture Credit: EarthKids.com/ek-elephants.aspx