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World Elephant Day (August 12th)

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 preserving and protecting 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
A Herd of African Bush Elephants Near a Waterhole

Why do we celebrate World Elephant Day?

The key objective of World Elephant Day is to:

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  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 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 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. The illegal wildlife trade puts elephants in danger because it is perceived as a low-risk and high-profit endeavour.
  2. Habitat loss and defragmentation deprive elephants of the hundreds of pounds of food they need daily. Deforestation and increased mining and agricultural activities have become problematic, especially for Asian elephants.
  3. Increase in human pressure and the need for improved infrastructural developments.
  4. Human-wildlife conflict as the human population increases and forest cover decreases, forcing elephants into proximity to human settlements.
  5. Circuses and tourism. Training elephants often involves tying and beating them daily, leading to their mistreatment.
  6. We have limited financial resources.
  7. “Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”

How do we celebrate World Elephant Day?

  • Celebrate World Elephant Day by donating to a sanctuary, avoiding ivory products, or raising awareness of the majestic elephant’s plight.
  • Post a photo of yourself holding the reasons you love elephants and pin it to the WED Pinterest Board.
  • Write a poem about elephants and share it on your blog.
  • Sign the pledge to support a world that protects elephants, wildlife, and their habitat.

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

John Donne
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