World Elephant Day 2021: World Elephant Day is observed every year on 12 August across the globe.
The day aims to spread awareness about the plight of elephants and to identify their importance in our ecosystem
- World Elephant Day was co-founded by Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand, an initiative of HM Queen Sirikit of Thailand on 12 August 2012.
- The first World Elephant Day was observed in the year 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants.
- Since then, the day is being observed every year on 12 August.
- This is not just a day but a movement in itself.
- Since 2012, Ms. Sims has been leading World Elephant Day.
- World Elephant Day plays a very important role in raising awareness about problems faced by elephants.
- According to the World Elephant Society, various threats including, poaching, habitat loss, mistreatment in captivity hover over elephants, especially Asians and Africans.
- On this day, they encourage individuals and organizations around the world to work towards elephant conservation.
- The IUCN Red List of threatened species has listed African elephants as ‘Critically Endangered’ and Asian elephants as ‘Endangered’.
- An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat, and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remainings.
Causes for Decline in the Populations of Elephants:
- Elephants are shot by hunters and they die in extreme pain and agony. Because of this, their tribes are damaged which leads to populations decline.
- Elephants are killed by poachers for their ivory which is used in making tableware, sculptures, jewellery, and Chinese traditional medicines, and other things.
- Wild Asian elephants suffer severe habitat loss in some of the most densely human-populated regions on the planet.
- Many elephants fall prey to electrocution, train accidents and poisoning.
What can be done to save the elephants?
- Never buy ivory products.
- Donate to reputed organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Elephant Society, Wildlife SOS, and others as these organizations work tirelessly towards the rescue. So, donations will help support their activities better and faster.
- Protect wild elephant habitat.
- Provide sanctuaries and alternative habitats for domestic elephants to live freely.
Conservation and protection of Elephants in India:
- In 1992, the Government of India (GoI) had launched Project Elephant as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to protect elephants and their habitats, address issues of human-elephant conflict and ensure the welfare of captive elephants.
- The funding is provided by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change for the project across the country.
- The project has been implemented in 16 states across India namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
- India has 32 Elephant reserves, as stated by the GoI.
- The Singhbhum Elephant Reserve of Jharkhand was the first elephant sanctuary in the country.
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests, in 2011, collaborated with Wildlife Trust of India to launch the campaign ‘Hathi Mere Sathi’.