Today, August 12, is World Elephant Day.
Elephant populations in both Africa and Asia have shown dramatic decreases due to habitat loss, poaching and conflicts with humans. If the species is to survive, everyone must get involved.
Elephants are incredibly intelligent, caring, family-oriented animals. Female elephants stay with their families -- mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins -- their entire lives. Elephants show compassion.They appear to mourn their dead, even elephants they don't know. Recent studies seem to show that elephants have a sense of self-awareness and recognize themselves in a mirror.
Please never buy ivory or paintings by elephants, and avoid elephant rides or anything else that exploits these amazing animals. The procedures used to train baby elephants -- who suffer incredible trauma when they are ripped from their families -- are horrendous and abusive.
If you can and are so inclined, find a good elephant conservation or rescue organization (I support Save the Elephants and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust) and get involved. Educate yourself about the plight of elephants, then help spread the word to your friend.
I have been fortunate to observe these marvelous animals in the wild. Elephants are not here to entertain or adorn us. They deserve to be left alone to enjoy life with their families as they are meant to do.