Do you know that we have 62% fewer elephants in the world today than we had a decade before? That 100 African elephants are poached every day for their ivory. That close to 90% of African elephants have been wiped out just in the last 100 years. Chances are elephants can go extinct by the end of the next decade.
Why Elephant Days are celebrated?
World Elephant Day is celebrated to protect and promote the rights of, elephants who are slowly but steadily being poached to extinction.
Who started celebrating World Elephant Day?
Patricia Sims (a Canadian elephant rights activist) and ERFT (Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand) came together in 2012 to find this day dedicated to the welfare of Elephants the world over.
Elephants: Interesting Facts
- Elephants are continuously eating because they need to eat roughly 150 kg of food each day.
- 20 minutes after birth, an infant elephant can stand unassisted.
- Elephants typically have better memories than humans, which is why the proverb ‘Elephants never forget’ is famous.
- Elephants use vibrations to communicate.
Difference between Asian and African Elephants
- African elephants are larger, spread across wild jungles of Africa, and difficult to domesticate.
- Asian elephants, on the other hand, have always lived close to human settlements and thus have been domesticated and captivated.
- Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- Out of a total of 50,000 -60000 Asian elephants in the world, over 60 % are in India.
- The Indian elephant has the widest range and accounts for the majority of the remaining elephants on the continent.
Why Elephants are killed and captivated?
- Elephants are primarily killed for the expensive ivory.
- An adult male elephant has its tusks weighing over 100 kg, with each kg fetching a price of over $6,000 in the black market.
- Elephants are captivated by the rich to show their grandeur and by the poor to earn by providing entertainment rides to tourists.
How can we save the elephants?
We can save elephants by…
- Preventing ivory trade and poaching
- Encouraging improved care for their natural surroundings
- Educating the public about the importance of elephants to ecosystems
- Enhancing the treatment of captive elephants,
- Releasing elephants from captivity into wildlife refuges
Human-Elephant Conflict in India
- One person (mostly a farmer) is killed every day on average in India, thanks to the human-elephant conflict.
- In the past six years, 48% of all human-elephant conflict-related deaths have occurred in Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
- Eighty-five per cent of all human-elephant deaths have occurred in these three states, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu.
- Farmers all around the elephant range report that wild elephants have destroyed their crops, causing significant financial losses.
- However, research suggests that it is human settlements – and other infrastructure like roads, rails, and canals – that are encroaching upon elephant habitats and not the other way around.
Elephant Corridors in India: An initiative to save the Indian Elephants
- Most of the elephants in India are killed in the act of crossing a road or railway line.
- Elephant Corridors – a narrow strip of land connecting two large habitats of elephants – are necessary to minimize elephant fatalities
- This movement of Elephants helps in enhancing the species’ survival and birth rate.
- 88 elephant corridors have been identified by the wildlife trust of India under the National elephant Corridor project.
- Concern: The all-around development like human settlements, roads, railway lines, electric lines, canals and mining are the main cause of corridor fragmentation.
Reasons for Protecting the Corridors:
- The movement of elephants is essential for their populations to be genetically viable.
- Due to their location outside of parks and sanctuaries, about 40% of elephant corridors are in danger. Additionally, they have no special legal protection either.
- Unchecked tourism and farms that have been converted from forests are obstructing animal travel routes. As a result, animals are forced to seek out alternate pathways, which increases elephant-human conflict.
- Important animal habitats are being significantly impacted by lax eco-tourism regulation. Elephants and other animals, with population scattered all over, are particularly affected.