One of the things I love most about travelling to Africa, is that is gives us a rare opportunity to see wild animals living in their natural habitat.
Safari parks may not have the open borders we would all like to see, but they are certainly better than the animal parks and zoos we have in Europe, and once you have seen Lions, Rhinos, Water Buffalo and Elephants roaming freely in a natural environment, you really begin to appreciate just how special these creatures are.
Sadly,the escalation of poaching, habitat loss and conflict with humans has led to a sharp decline of Africa’s gentle giants, namely Rhinos and Elephants, and so days like today really need to be highlighted so that we can draw attention to the urgent plight of these beautiful creatures.
Today, Monday 12th August 2013 is officially World Elephant Day, and if you would like to work towards better protection for wild elephants, here is a list of things you can do to help (as listed on the World Elephant Day Website):
- Learn about and support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict
- Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products
- Support organizations that are protecting wild elephant habitat
- Support organizations that are building natural sanctuaries and alternative habitat for domesticated elephants to live freely
- Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit.
- If you wish to experience elephants in their natural environment choose eco-tourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity
- Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants, wild animals and natural resources.
- Be an elephant aware consumer. Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products.
- Be aware of elephant habitat. Do not buy coffee that is not fair-traded or shade-grown, or products with palm oil. These commercial crops are grown in plantations that have decimated elephant habitats.