World Elephant Day - Extinction by 2020?
World Elephant Day - Extinction by 2020?

World Elephant Day - Extinction by 2020?

Posted by Connor Whelan on 12th Aug 2015 3 mins

A lot of the blogs I have written since starting my job here at The Great Projects have been around the very sombre topic of animal extinction, and unfortunately this one is in the same vein. World Elephant Day was created to bring attention to a species of animal, which due to their gargantuan size, humans often assume are almost invincible. This is not the case.

Over the last decade, Elephant numbers have dropped by 62%, and this could lead to near extinction by the end of the current decade. An estimated 100 African Elephants are killed each and every day for their meat, body parts, and most prominently for their ivory. This mass slaughter means the worldwide African elephant population is now as low as 400,000, and as of 2011, the world is losing more elephants than the population can produce.

Large bull elephants are the main targets due to their huge tusks, but female African elephants also have tusks, so when they are targeted it has a huge effect on the elephant population and their societies. An increasing number of orphaned baby elephants are being discovered as a result of this, and it is near impossible for the youngsters to survive in the wild without any parental protection.

Whilst poaching is the main fear for the African Elephant population, for the Asian Elephants, poaching is only one of their worries. In such a densely human-populated area of the world, they suffer from huge habitat loss. Their traditional homes have been developed into highways, farms and plantations for industrial crop growth including palm oil and rubber trees and this has had a devastating effect. With no access to their natural habitats Elephants are often forced into confrontations with humans, and when this happens the Elephants never come out as winners. On top of these issues, as they have lived alongside humans for around 4,000 years, some people perceive the elephant as part of their everyday lives, and the Asian Elephants are often taken from their mothers at a very young age to be sold into the illegal pet trade or to perform in circuses. This only further exacerbates the issue. It is estimated that there are only 40,000 Asian Elephants left in the world and we cannot afford to let that number drop any further.

World Elephant Day’s purpose is to raise awareness about the plight of the Elephant population. If we don’t start to make changes to the way we care for these magnificent animals then they will disappear much quicker than we could ever imagine.

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