Wednesday 12/8/15 Is ‘World Elephant Day’ – What You Can Do.

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7 Easy Ways to Help This World Elephant Day

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by Alicia Graef – August 10, 2015

On Wednesday, August 12, animal lovers around the world will be coming together to celebrate elephants and support a future where they’re respected and protected for the fourth annual World Elephant Day.

World Elephant day was launched in 2012 by Canadian documentary filmmaker Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand. On the same day, Sims’ film Return to the Forest premiered, which explores the journey and beautiful transformation that takes place when captive elephants are returned from a life with us to their home in the forest and how vital their presence there is.

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Despite being a charismatic species loved by people of all ages, elephants in both Africa and Thailand are in serious trouble. Since the first World Elephant Day, individuals, celebrities and dozens of organizations that are working on solutions that will ensure their future survival around the world, have joined in support because the threat of losing them forever is becoming a very real possibility.

Poaching in Africa has reached unprecedented levels, which some believe could wipe elephants out entirely within the next 10 years if it continues at its current rate, and there are now estimated to be less than 40,000 Asian elephants left in existence, who continue to face the threat of poaching, habitat loss and being taken for the tourism industry.

“So many people around the world love elephants but aren’t aware that elephants are in crisis. World Elephant Day helps increase security for elephants and expand habitat because it creates an opportunity to raise a rallying cry. We have to turn up the volume about the elephant crisis in order to put more pressure on leaders to take meaningful action, attract desperately needed resources, and to convince people to not buy ivory,” Misty Herrin, #SaveElephants campaign director for The Nature Conservancy, said in a statement.

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Unfortunately, wild elephants aren’t the only ones in trouble. Animal advocates have also been working to end their exploitation in captivity and entertainment and raise awareness about why elephants belong in the wild, not circuses, zoos or tourist attractions.

How to Help

This year elephant advocates will again be stepping up to raise awareness about the plight of captive and wild elephants by hosting and attending events, urging officials to take action to protect elephants and using social media to gain support and there are a lot of easy ways to help.

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.

Support Elephant Sanctuaries

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.

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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.

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