Tragically, elephant populations around the world are in decline, with each species facing the brutal reality that their days might be numbered because humans continue to threaten their very existence.
In Africa, it is now estimated that 99 elephants are slaughtered every day. African elephants are being killed for their tusks, and at the current rate of poaching, many experts believe that they could become extinct by 2025. While poaching is the primary reason for the declining population, the encroachment of people into traditional elephant habitats has also started to play a larger role in their demise.
In Asia, the situation is even more dire. There are only about 35,000-40,000 wild Asian elephants remaining today, and only 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants, the Asian elephant’s smaller cousin.
But the need to save elephants doesn’t just end in the wild. There are currently 15,000-20,000 captive elephants around the world. The majority are used for cruel entertainment in zoos, circuses, and amusement parks, as well as in TV and movies.
Before they’re ready to perform, elephants must go through an abusive training process that literally beats the wild out of them and breaks their spirit. In Thailand for example, the elephants go through “phajaan,” which actually translates to “the crush.” During the process, baby elephants are ripped from their mother’s side and beaten until their spirits are reduced to nothing.
Then, there are zoo elephants like Chendra and Billy, who live sad often solitary lives, completely devoid of stimulus and affection. Elephants are highly intelligent, self-aware and social beings. In the wild, they live in large families of up to 100 elephants. They form powerful, intricate relationships with the members of their family. When one dies, they mourn their dead for a long time. Despite this being common knowledge, many zoos keep their elephants in small groups of two or three, some even live alone. For such social animals, that amounts to a life of solitary confinement.
In recognition of Elephant Awareness Month, WAN has assembled a list of petitions that people can sign to help save this amazing species from extinction and #KeepElephantsWild
Whether it be rescuing them from captivity, stopping the abuse of elephant rides, or demanding a ban on trophy hunting, we can all do our part to help protect them.
Take the pledge to defend elephants by never riding them. Your signature on this petition will send a clear message to the travel industry that you won’t stand for this cruelty HERE!
Sign this petition urging the Topeka Zoo to act immediately to secure a sanctuary retirement for Cora and Tembo the elephants before it’s too late HERE!
Depressed Himeko has lived alone for 24 years, forced by bullhooks to perform tricks. Sign this petition to demand that Japan sets higher standards of elephant housing and care, including prohibiting social isolation HERE!
Sign this petition urging The Oregon Zoo to stop elephant breeding, buying, and the use of bullhooks HERE!
Botswana is the last safe haven for Africa’s elephants, but now the country’s Parliament wants to make trophy hunting legal. Help ensure the trophy hunting ban remains in place by signing the petition HERE!