Elephants are one of the main species to have suffered from habitat loss, human development activities and climate change. Sadly, their numbers have drastically declined since the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, there were a few million African Elephants, and roughly about 100,000 Asian Elephants in the wild. Nowadays, these statistics have significantly changed, with about 400,000 African Elephants, and 35,000 Asian Elephants left.
The African Elephant is the largest mammal on Earth, weighing up to eight tons. Asian types are smaller in size, and their ears are slightly different from the African species. The species are sensitive and have specific environmental and dietary requests, but certain precautions and steps can be taken to help their populations grow and flourish. Here are some of the things one can do to support elephant conservation.
Stop Ivory trade and poaching: It seems that elephants are running out of time and space for expansion. Thousands of animals are being killed annually for their tusks and the ivory trade industry. If people stopped buying products, hunters would stop killing, and the ivory trade could diminish. It is important for people to understand the effects they are causing when they buy something made of ivory. Such items could be ornaments, jewelry, hair accessories, chopsticks, needles, buttons, bow clips and others. The elephant populations are drastically depleting because of this industry that is oriented towards profit and money, without being aware of the environmental damage it causes.
In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international ivory trade. However, illegal trading has been fueled, and the growing demand has increased the rate of poaching.
Stop attending circuses: Circuses house a significant amount of elephants for the sake of entertaining the audience. Circuses require the animals to parade around in colorful outfits and travel in trailers. Elephants need room to roam around and explore and usually require a lot of lands to thrive; it is part of their behavior and lifestyle. With circuses, they travel up to fifty miles a day and live in small spaces that are coercive and improper for their needs. They might develop arthritis and other foot-related injuries which could lead to their downfall and death. Many can become sick, dysfunctional, depressed and aggressive due to the conditions they live in. Circuses do not provide the normal and natural conditions they are used to, but a rough and confined life in which they are forced to learn and perform tricks for the entertainment of people.
Ensure zoos do not import elephants from the wild: According to Animal Protection of New Mexico, elephants live up to seventy years in the wild, but only up to fifteen when held in captivity. They need vast spaces to socialize and express their natural behavior. Usually living in matriarchal herds, they are active for about 18 hours a day, playing, bathing in rivers, looking for fresh vegetation and traveling up to 30 miles a day. Zoos do not provide the adequate space these animals need to live a happy, healthy life. Another factor that hinders their development and growth in captivity is that they do not have the proper environment to reproduce and socialize with each other. Breeding elephants in captivity has so far been a significant failure. According to PETA, every time an elephant is born in a zoo, other two die.
Stay away from Safaris: Safaris are like homes to the elephants and, wherever humans decide to drive around, they disturb their true peace and their young. This leads to a direct conflict with people because the animals feel more closed off trying to keep away from the vehicles as much as possible. Walking around their natural space and environment is a huge stressor that does not allow them to develop and grow naturally. Plus, this causes aggressiveness and potentially harmful events that could cause injuries to people.
Spread the word: The easiest way a person can help elephant conservation is by spreading the word about their current situation. Many people are unaware and do not know much information about the state and conditions of these mammals. You can write letters to the local newspaper, or talk to the local news stations to try and get the word out more. People are not always aware of what is going on in other countries unless it is in the news. If you want to help preserve elephant populations, you can do one small thing that might have significant effects: help spread the word.
Elephants Conservation is important for our ecosystem, and it is in our best interest to seek to maintain the health and development of their populations. It is important for people to stop attending events involving elephants, stop buying products that use ivory and do their best to avoid disturbing their natural habitat. If people stop attending these events or visiting these venues and zoos, profits will start to decrease, and the species will be able to be better preserved in the long run.