World Elephant Day this year is August 12 and the international initiative was created to bring the world together to help elephants.
It’s a day to honour elephants and spread awareness about the critical threats they face and to support solutions that will help them survive at a time when poaching and loss of habitat places them constantly under threat.
Here are seven activities that Care2.com suggest anyone can do to increase support for elephants.
Support Increasing Protection Under the Endangered Species Act
In June, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition to have African elephants declared as two separate species – forest elephants and savannah elephants – and upgraded from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act, which would add even more strength to laws intended to protect them.
Please sign and share the petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify elephants and upgrade their status to endangered.
Tell the U.S. to Crack Down on the Ivory Trade
As the second largest market for ivory behind China, the U.S. has been called on by wildlife advocates to step up its efforts to tackle wildlife trafficking with meaningful action. Now it’s hoped a proposed rule which was formally announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in July will virtually wipe out the market in the states by applying more restrictions to imports and exports and banning the sale of ivory across state lines.
Please sign and share the petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support a ban on ivory.
You can also make a public comment in support of tougher regulations for the ivory trade directly at the Federal Register until September 28.
Don’t Buy Ivory
That should go without saying, but even legal ivory and antique items help keep the market going and help provide a cover for the illegal trade of ivory from recently killed elephants.
Learn about and support organizations working to give captive elephants a better life by returning them to natural environments where they can live freely like the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. In the U.S. check out the Elephant Sanctuary and the Performing Animal Welfare Society.
Be a Voice for Captive Elephants
While more and more areas are banning the use of wild animals in circuses and Ringling Bros. recently took a big step by announcing it would retire its elephant performers, there are still other traveling shows around the world that continue to use elephants. We can send a strong message that it’s time to stop by avoiding companies and venues that continue to use them by speaking out for elephants like Nosey, who desperately needs to be retired, and by signing the petition asking Congress to pass the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would ban the use of wild animals in circuses for good.
We can also help give a voice to elephants in zoos who need help like Asha, Lucky and Lucy by signing petitions on their behalf and asking countries like Zimbabwe to stop taking calves from the wild for captivity.
Make an “Elegram”
The Nature Conservancy, which is an official sponsor of World Elephant Day this year, is asking supporters to get a little crafty and make 20,000 handmade images for its #Elegram Project, which will be matched with $150,000 by generous donors for elephant conservation work in Africa. Just paint, draw, sketch or sculpt an image of an elephant, take a photo of it and upload it to their gallery.
Spread the Word
If you’re spreading the word about efforts to help elephants on social media sites, check out World Elephant day for badges and banners to share and add the hashtags #WorldElephantDay #GoGrey #BeHerd #Elegram #SaveElephants #JoinTheSTAMPede #96Elephants and #SayNoToIvory.
For more info on ways to help elephants and support organizations working to resolve conflicts and stop poaching, visit World Elephant Day