Happy Weekend! This video of baby Chhouk’s new boot will melt your heart!
Happy Weekend! This video of baby Chhouk’s new boot will melt your heart!
Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed for its ivory. This amounts to 96 elephants per day, thousands upon thousands per year (in 2011, record numbers for elephant poaching were reached at 22,000 elephants in one year — 2013 has already surpassed this number by 20%). Elephants in Africa struggle against poachers while Asian Elephants are finding their migratory routes disrupted by high speed trains, their forest homes being destroyed for palm oil plantations and humans stealing their babies to domesticate and use them for tourism in the big cities (elephant street beggars, elephants “playing” in the ocean, forest ele-rides and more). And although outlawed in many areas, using elephants for logging is still big business. Then there are the elephants in captivity around the world suffering from EEHV, arthritis and obesity. The future looks bleak for the world’s largest land mammal.
To be honest, this often overwhelms me. I love elephants deeply and understand the crucial role they play in the ecosystem. Elephants create paths through forests that are used by humans and other animals. These paths also allow sunlight to reach the bottom of the forests to help regenerate the ground foliage. Elephants use their tusks to dig for water, allowing other animals to drink from the newly created water pools in otherwise dry places. Elephants eat a LOT. And that means thousands of plants depend of elephants for their survival, since the elephant distributes the plants seeds across thousands of miles. The list could go on and on about the physical benefits elephants bring to the ecosystem.
But we don’t just need elephants for survival – we need them for our soul. Elephants are some of the most caring animals in all of the animal kingdom. Scientists are amazed at how a herd displays emotions, how a herd cares for one another, how sometimes a herd even cares for other elephants from outside the herd. There was even a case of an elephant caring for a completely different species such as dogs, rhinos & even humans (click on the link to read more about altruism in elephants)! There is something magical about Elephants. If we lose these creatures, we will lose a part of ourselves.
And that is why I started Elephantopia. To raise awareness about these amazing creatures, to educate others about the peril they are in and to provide opportunities for people like you and me to create a harmonious future for elephants and humans to co-exist. Right now it is estimated that 70% of the illegal ivory trade goes to China & two-thirds of Chinese people do not realize that ivory is obtained only by killing an elephant. And what about where I live, here in the US? Or where you live? How many people know what is going on? How many people even care? That’s where Elephantopia comes in. This page is meant to educate and endear people to elephants.
Sometimes I worry, “is this enough?” The late Nelson Mandela, a man whom the Chicago Tribune stated ”achieved more than could be expected of any man,” is quoted as saying (and believing!):
“EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH YOU CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD.”
Help change the world. Please share Elephantopia with your friends and family. Let’s continue to teach and share our love of elephants with others.
P.S. Stay tuned for exciting news! This January 2014, I am moving forward to registering Elephantopia as a formal non-profit. There are some very exciting plans in store!
Take two minutes to enjoy these playful ellies – we promise it will leave a smile on your day!
As November comes to a close, it only seems appropriate to share a note of thanks.
Thank you for your continued efforts to change laws and regulations by signing petitions, attending awareness events and spreading the news to your friends & family. Together, we are making a future of ele-advocates dedicated to saving the world’s largest land mammal from the destruction of human greed and vice. I can’t imagine a future landscape void of these amazing animals. And I’m glad to partner with people like you to create a harmonious future for both elephants and humans.
Finally, thank you for opening your heart up to love these amazing animals. As Anatole France once said,
Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened
Sometimes that awakening can be painful. When we hear of an elephant family slaughtered at the hands of poachers, or of a high speed train in India plowing through a herd on the tracts, it can be devastating. Sometimes you may wish you hadn’t opened up your heart to love these creatures. But we also must remember that love is power – the strongest power there is. Mahtma Gandhi said that nothing is impossible for pure love.
So keep on loving, keep on caring, keep on sharing. And Happy Thanksgiving from the Elephantopia family to You.
Enjoy a minute walk with this beautiful elephant herd!
Feel Good Friday! This awesome story about Callum’s art projects will melt your heart. This boy, diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities, has an incredible talent of communicating through art. He was unable to speak until he was 5 years old. But he used art to share his feelings, his thoughts and his loves. One of those loves? Elephants! He has created literally thousands of drawings of elephants which are shared below. Currently he is painting new pieces that are now for sale in prints and postcards with 20% of sales going toward the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and Save the Elephants.
“IVORY BELONGS TO ELEPHANTS – ELEPHANTS IN THE WILD.”
Photographs shared from various news agencies showing the inaugural ivory crushing in the US.
“We’re trying to tell organized syndicates and cartels who are now involved in the illegal ivory trade that we’re going to do whatever we can to take the value out of ivory and do whatever we can to put them in jail,”-Edward Grace, deputy chief with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.
“With this action (the crushing of ivory), the United States is sending a simple but powerful message to the sadistic poachers who kill elephants and other animals, and to all the traffickers who transport illicit cargo and the consumers who purchase these illicit goods: “You cannot and must not mistake our seriousness.”- John Kerry, Secretary of State, USA.
Critics argue the “ivory crush”-like earlier events in Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines- will do little to stem the illegal ivory trade. Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes, a conservation economist with the Property and Environmental Research Center, warns today’s crush could have unintended consequences.
“The ill-conceived [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] gesture could create the perception that ivory is anincreasingly scarce commodity on illegal markets, leading to higher prices and further poaching,” he said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service disagrees.
“This ivory would never be made available to the market,” the agency said in a statement. “Its destruction has no impact on the overall supply and does not create any incentive for poaching. By demonstrating our commitment to combat poaching and illegal trade, and to arrest and prosecute people who engage in these activities, we are providing a strong disincentive to poachers and wildlife traffickers.” (Above story shared from ABCNews - click to read full details)
Jane Goodall and Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton share about this iconic day in history – and what is needed next.
TODAY is a monumental day in U.S. history: the first-ever ivory crush. The 5.4 tons of ivory that cost the lives of the 2000+ elephants will be destroyed, sending a clear message to the world that the U.S. will not tolerate the illegal wildlife trade. Below are photographs of the event in Denver. We are thrilled to see the U.S. taking this first step. But we hope it won’t end there. It’s time to ban the sale of ivory in the U.S.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:
1. Tweet about it! Let the world know what’s going on – here’s a great facebook event page with pre-made tweets ready for you!
2. Global Moment of Silence – use the power of facebook to join with hundreds of others around the world as we remember the elephants who were killed by human greed.
3. Sign this petition from the Wildlife Conservation Society asking the US to ban the ivory trade.
We leave you with this quote by Daphne Sheldrick:
“[elephants teach us to] focus on the living, rather than the dead, knowing that the dead are beyond any more suffering and pain, and that one has, at least, afforded them a comfortable end surrounded by compassion and love.”