Spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society, August 12 was designated World Elephant Day back in 2011 to highlight the plight of elephants worldwide. With poaching and ivory trafficking causing the death of around 30,000 African elephants each year, wildlife conservation is firmly back in the spotlight.
The Inquisitr also reported recently that elephants in Sri Lanka are in danger of being wiped out, partly through poaching for their valued ivory but also due to humans encroaching onto their territory.
Happy world elephant day pic.twitter.com/dcfmMowjwk
— Chill Vibes (@ChiIIVlbes) August 12, 2015
With the recent killing of Cecil the lion in July and the global outrage that followed, World Elephant Day hopes to bring the public’s attention to the devastation to all wildlife including the magnificent elephant.
Speaking of the number of elephants killed daily, the Wildlife Conservation Society has launched the “96 Elephants” campaign, to further highlight the issue.
The International Business Times quotes the society as saying around 800,000 African elephants were killed over the last three decades and ivory trafficking is the major factor behind elephant poaching.
While poaching and the ivory trade are banned or restricted in 181 countries, ivory trafficking continues in several Asian countries and in the U.S.
Reuters reports that more than 60 tons of ivory were seized during 2014 and a further 44 tons in 2013. In May, an ivory shipment worth around $6 million was seized in Singapore. However, seizing the ivory cannot bring back the magnificent creatures that were slaughtered.
— Beautiful Pictures (@BEAUTIFULPlCS) August 13, 2015
The Toronto Sun reports that Teresa Telecky, director of the wildlife department of Humane Society International wrote an open letter to US President Barack Obama where she stated, “You don’t have to be a scientist to know that ivory comes from dead elephants.”
Telecky called for tighter ivory restrictions in an effort to stop the slaughter.
Happy #WorldElephantDay! pic.twitter.com/Qb8JqsiI9E — Fascinating Pictures (@Fascinatingpics) August 12, 2015
Cristián Samper, Wildlife Conservation Society president and CEO, said in a statement: “Ivory and rhino horn, derived from the illegal killing of elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia, are typically trafficked by transnational organized crime syndicates across the world, including into the United States.”
“The United States has a global obligation to help stop wildlife trafficking. We welcome the leadership of the Obama Administration in using the expertise, influence and assistance of the United States to help end this scourge.”
President Obama has announced plans to ban most sales of ivory, even including those with documentation that their product meets the guidelines for exemptions and the current restrictions from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will remain in place.
Patricia Sims, a Canadian filmmaker who was involved in the creation of World Elephant Day, said: “Each year, approximately 30,000 African elephants are slaughtered to supply the illegal ivory trade that feeds an insatiable demand for ivory in consumer markets in China, Thailand, and many other countries including the USA and the UK.”
Sims’ new documentary When Elephants Were Young is the story of elephant conservation, exploring the plight of these magnificent creatures and pointing out the dangers of extinction.
“It is estimated that at the current rate of poaching and habitat loss, there will be no more wild elephants left on the planet in less than 30 years.”
World Elephant Day was started back in 2011 and continues each year in a hope of protecting elephants worldwide.
— zephoto (@zephotografer) August 12, 2015
To highlight the intelligence and humor of elephants, just prior to World Elephant Day a video was released of a herd finding a GoPro camera in the grass and their amusing reactions to the situation, including posing for a whole bunch of “elphies.”
Another recent elephant-related story told of the elephants who found an easy water source at the Elephant Sands Lodge in Botswana, by hefting their trunks over the bathroom walls and drinking from the toilet.
[Image: Herd of elephants in Kenya CC BY-SA 2.0 Benh LIEU SONG]