World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12 every year. The day was co-founded by a Canadian filmmaker, Patricia Sims, and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand on August 12, 2012. Since then, it has partnerships with over 70 wildlife conservation organizations worldwide and reaches millions of people across the planet. World Elephant Day is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the planet’s elephants.

“Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There’s bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.”

Jennifer Richard Jacobson
A Herd of African Bush Elephants Near a Waterhole

The Goal of the World Elephant Day

The key objective of World Elephant Day is to:

  1. Create awareness of the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants.
  2. Share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants.

The international day comes about after African elephants are listed as “Vulnerable” and Asian elephants as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Significant Issues Facing Elephants

  1. The demand for ivory, which is highest in China, leads to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants. For example, Satao – one of the world’s largest elephants and Mountain Bull – another iconic Kenyan elephant, were killed by poachers for their ivory. African elephants face a poaching epidemic. Elephants are also poached for meat, leather, and body parts, with the illegal wildlife trade putting elephants increasingly in danger because it is perceived to be low risk and high-profit endeavor.
  2. Habitat loss and defragmentation deprive elephants of the hundreds of pounds of food they need daily. Deforestation, an increase in mining and agricultural activities has become problematic, especially for Asian elephants.
  3. Increased human pressure and the need for improved infrastructural developments.
  4. Human-wildlife conflict as human population increase and forest cover decreases, forcing elephants into close proximity to human settlements.
  5. Circuses and tourism. Training elephants often involve tying and beating them daily and often leads to their mistreatment.
  6. Limited financial resources.
  7. “Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”

John Donne