World Elephant Day: They are pleasant, they are intelligent, and they are loved by the people worldwide. Yes, these are the largest land animals “the elephants”. Unfortunately, these majestic creatures have to face several threats to their survival. The ivory trade is one of the significant risks associated with these magnificent creatures. However, some other issues like loss of habitat, human-elephant conflict, mistreatment in captivity, etc. also shows the plight of elephants.
World elephant day (WED) was started to draw people’s attention to protecting the elephants. Therefore, this international day provides us with an opportunity to raise awareness about the danger these animals are facing and what can be the solution to overcome this situation.
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History of World Elephant Day
World Elephant Day came into existence in 2011 by the initiative of two Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims & Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures and also Sivaporn Dardarananda (the Secretary-General of Thailand’s Elephant Reintroduction Foundation). So, for the first time on 12th August 2012, we celebrated this day.
The inaugural celebration of WED got great support from film star and Star Trek legend William Shatner. He narrated the documentary “Return to the Forest”. It was a 30-minute documentary about the reintroduction of captive Asian elephants to the wild. Therefore, since 2012, We dedicated 12th Augusts to the elephants.
World Elephant Day (WED) 2013
For bringing people together to help elephants, the WED organization celebrated this day for the second time in 2013. This day the people worldwide remind the world’s elephants are in danger.
The” iWorry campaign” of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust organized an International March for Elephants on 4th October 2013.
In 2014, people across the world planned various activities to support the campaign to save the threatened African and Asian elephants. Estimations show that illegal wildlife trades killed almost 100 African elephants every day.
According to the June 2014 report of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), if poaching continues at this rate, then almost 20% of African elephants may be slaughtered in the next ten years.
Many organizations came forward to protect world elephants. For example- the Gabby Wild Foundation submitted a world series of elephant-themed photographs in collaboration with world elephant day.
We all dedicated a day for the mighty land animal of the earth by celebrating the 4th annual world elephant day. Since the past years, the international campaign has reached millions of people worldwide. This campaign has connected many countries, organizations, groups, individuals to a single goal of conservation of elephants worldwide.
World Elephant Day 2016
WED 2016 was focused on Asian Elephants as IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) had listed them as “endangered”. At the turn of the country, the estimation shows according to an educational website Bagheera (dedicated to saving endangered species) was approximately 200,000 Asian elephants. In contrast, in that year, probably 35,000 to 40,000 elephants were left in the wild.
According to a report prepared for the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of CITES, in 2016, the mean estimate of PIKE (Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephant) dropped almost 5% for the first time since 2009.
The price of raw ivory in China was also dropped by more than 50% between 2014 and 2015, as per the survey by STE (Save The Elephants) researchers Esmod Martin and Lucy Vigne.
As far as people concerned of the worldwide events, they arranged numerous events in 2016 to celebrate the day such as an educational event in the L.A.Zoo, seminar to mark the day at Resources Himalaya Foundation, Nayabato, Lalitpur, Nepal, etc.
This year, it was the 6th international elephant day. Several regions of the world observed this day through organizing various events. So, the Wildlife Conservation Society hosted a visit to the Nasdaq MarketSite in Time Square in celebration of the WED event.
Amarula, the best-selling South African liqueur launched an awareness campaign “Don’t Let Them Disappear” in Canada to save African Elephants. Also, they started this campaign in partnership with a well-known conservation group “WildlifeDirect”.
A life-sized ice sculpture of an African elephant was placed in the summer heat of Toronto to mark the rapid loss of the population of this species.
World Wildlife Fund also took part in the event with a theme Be Elephant Ethical (BEE). It was the time to reevaluate our accomplishments achieved so far in protecting the substantial land mammals. Thus, they organized many more events to celebrate the day with great enthusiasm.
In 2018, different countries of the world organized various events. Some of the activities for the day were-
- Elephant DC hosted a public demonstration in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to get public support for the protection of elephants. The march began from Lambert Lane to support Nosey’s Law in New Jersey to end the ivory market.
- The Disappearing Elephant (a life-size elephant sculpture) was once again organized this year. The statue represents the plight of African elephants when it melts before the spectator’s eyes.
- 200,000 signatures for a #ivoryfreecanada to stop the sale of elephant ivory within Canada.
- Also, for Elephant Valley Project, Cambodia, the organization hosted a fundraising campaign “Bike-A-Thon” and many more events in different countries across the globe.
World Elephant Day 2019
In 2019, the WED organization invited all the individuals and organizations to submit their events for the day. They offered many activities to celebrate the international day on 12th August 2019. For example-
- The Elephant Sanctuary’s Education Team went live on Facebook to highlight some of the educational programs to help people #BeElephantEthical.
- #IvoryFreeCanada to ban the sale of elephant ivory in Canada.
- A special weekend in the Zoo Leipzig, Germany.
- On 12th August 2019, the WED organization released the premiere of the award-winning feature documentary film namely, “A Herd of Orphans” to support world elephant day. This film featured the Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia.
- Elephantopia holds the painting event on 11th August 2019 in Gilbert, Arizona. Apart from painting events, there were many fun activities to support elephant conservation in Zambia, etc. On 12th August 2019, the WED organization released the premiere of the award-winning feature documentary film namely, “A Herd of Orphans” to support world elephant day.
World Elephant Day 2020
We are very close to the world elephant day 2020. People from different countries will unite together to celebrate a day of the year on 12th August 2020. Unfortunately, this year the world is going through the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, we will not let down the enthusiasm level of the day dedicated to one of the friendly land animals of the earth.
Moreover, people can participate in the celebration through social media to raise awareness about the conservation of elephants worldwide. You can find out an event or activity in your nearby locations (if any) and can take part in that. Don’t forget to keep social distance and stay safe.
How to Celebrate World Elephant Day 2020?
Our involvement is vital to make this day more unique which will show our consciousness towards these wild animals. Here are some ways to contribute your part to the WED anniversary.
- You can host your elephant day events like a themed party with your family or friends.
- Also, you can screen the “Return to the Forest” documentary to celebrate the day.
- You can share the knowledge about the plight of elephants and how we can help them to survive.
- Art is an excellent medium to express your thoughts and feelings to others. You can organize a painting competition in the school or in your neighbourhood to involve everybody, especially the kids.
- You can visit the zoo or sanctuary to experience the life of elephants and their role in the ecosystem.
- Utilize your social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to share your concern about elephants using #WorldElephantDay.
- Many organizations are working for the well-being of elephants worldwide. You can donate your contribution to any of these organizations to help save elephants.
World elephant day has originated to mark the plight of world elephants. Saving elephants from extinction is the main motive behind this day. We all must work together to protect elephants so that our future generations do not get to know about the largest land animal only from books; instead, they can experience the existence of elephants on their own.