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Elephants Need Us

As kids, we were fascinated with dinosaurs. We would imagine what it would be like to walk with them, what they looked like, what they ate and what they did. As we grew up into adults we lost a little bit of that magic in our imaginations. I remember spending hours coloring dinosaurs in a book my mom had bought me when I was young. As kids we also loved animals. Our attraction and fascination with dinosaurs turned into an attention towards animals. We realized that we would never get the chance to see dinosaurs but wild animals were here and alive. Trips to the zoos were the best of times. We began to imagine what it was like to walk with Tigers and bears, rhinos and elephants. They were real and magnificent to us, but as we got older we forgot about our favorite animals. Deep in our hearts we still remember them. My favorite is the elephant - both Asian and African elephants. They are the largest land animal today, almost like dinosaurs. Unlike dinosaurs however, they are alive today. And need our help, as all animals do.

Currently, elephants are being poached and killed for Bush meat. The destruction of habitat and deforestation is creating less and less space and causing conflict between human and elephants, often ending in the death of more elephants. Elephant numbers are dropping drastically. Recent numbers show 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next 10 years. It’s estimated that 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining. As of 2011, our world is losing more elephants than the population can reproduce, threatening the future of African elephants across Africa. Big tusked bull elephants are the main targets and their numbers have been diminished to less than half of the females. Female African elephants have tusks and are also killed, which has a terrible effect on the stability of elephant societies. This leaves an increasing number of orphaned baby elephants, who are left to fend for themselves without the guidance and protection vital to their survival.

The Asian elephant, whose habitat ranges over 13 countries across Asia, is an endangered species with less than 40,000 remaining worldwide. That is less than a tenth of the African elephant population. Wild Asian elephants are suffering a severe habitat loss in some of the most densely human populated regions on the planet. Their traditional habitat and migration routes have been taken and diminished by development, highways and industrial mono crops such as palm oil and rubber tree plantations. All of these have and are continuing to destroy millions of acres of forest and ecosystems. Asian elephants are also poached for their ivory tusks, meat and body parts while baby elephants are captured from the wild and sold into the tourism industry. All over the world Asian elephants are trained, traded and used for entertainment - in tourist parks and circuses, and also for illegal logging activities. These captive elephants are often mistreated, abused and confined to sub-standard facilities without adequate veterinarian care.

These animals need us to imagine again. They need us to care about their wellbeing as much as we did when we were children. We have the power to change what’s going on to elephants. We can better their world and future. Charities like the International Elephant Foundation, Save The Elephant Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, and different sanctuaries worldwide - fight to help these beautiful creatures. Organizations like these need us. They can’t do it alone. We can ignite our compassion and fascination with the animals that exist today so we can save them. We have these animals here with us now and we don’t want to look back and remember them only through text books and videos. To make sure that doesn’t happen, its going to take all of us to change the world so elephants and wildlife worldwide can have a sustainable future and thrive.