Happy World Elephant Day! Here Are 3 of 3,000 Reasons Why They’re Worth Saving

Posted By on Aug 12, 2014 | 0 comments


Happy World Elephant Day! Here Are 3 of 3,000 Reasons Why They’re Worth Saving

Posted By on Aug 12, 2014 | 0 comments

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Elephant fans around the globe (ele-fans?) are celebrating World Elephant Day today, wearing grey and raising critical awareness about how we’re at risk of losing these wonderful animals forever… if we don’t end the poaching epidemic now.

In honor of the day, here are 3 out of the 3,000 reasons why elephants are worth saving!

1. Elephant Poop Is a Really Big Deal

No, really. Elephants are what scientists refer to as a “keystone species” — an animal that has an especially huge impact on the environment it lives in.  In the case of elephants, these giant pachyderms help keep grasslands intact by eating the trees that could overgrow the grass — a very good thing for all the countless animals and plant life that depend on that grass.

Photo by Tee La Rosa

Photo by Tee La Rosa


Also, the seeds of several trees and plants can only take root after first being digested and then dispersed by an elephant… In other words, elephants keep plants growing through the power of their poop.

If you take out the elephants, the entire ecosystem will be in grave danger, and the impact of their loss is hard to imagine.

2. Elephants Teach Us About Our Own Emotions

Elephants have been proven to experience a wide range of powerful emotions — everything from joy to fear to love and even grief. Last month, the story of abused Asian elephant Raju, who wept when he was freed from his chains, went viral and moved thousands of people. And the heartbreakingly sad mourning rituals that African elephants go through when a family member dies continue to fascinate scientists and stir our empathy.

Photo by Sokwanale

Photo by Sokwanale

We still have a lot to learn about how elephants experience emotions. And it’s an important area of study, because it also helps us learn more about how and why we human animals experience emotions, too. What does it mean, really, to mourn? By watching elephants, we can learn about ourselves.

3. Elephants Have Complex (and Really Cool) Social Structures

Riveting dramas and elaborate narratives could probably be written about the complex social worlds of elephants. Elephant herds are matriarchal — in other words, the head of each herd is a clear leader who is the oldest, wisest and smartest female in the family and larger bond group. The other full-grown female elephants in her family will form their own hierarchy below her, and they’ll all pitch in with daily duties like babysitting the calfs, hunting for the sweetest bushes to nosh on and guarding against danger.

Photo by John Haylett

Photo by John Haylett

Male elephants, meanwhile, leave their female mothers and aunts and cousins when they reach adolescence, and form small roaming bachelor herds for several years. Once they’re fully in their prime, the males roam solo, ranging far and wide in search of females from other herds to mate with.

There aren’t many matriarchal animal species out there, especially species as wildly intelligent and emotionally complex as elephants. Elephants are without a doubt one of the most fascinating and compelling animals we know… All the more reason to protect them while we still can.

Donate to an Ele-Friendly Organization to Honor Elephants Today!

This World Elephant Day, take a moment to marvel at the awesomeness of elephants. And then, if you can, please support the organizations that are working hard to protect them!

There’s a lot of really great groups you can support.

Here at Biking for Elephants, we’re fundraising for the African Wildlife Foundation by signing up for a 300-mile bike ride from New York to Washington, DC.

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Please help us meet our fundraising goals with a tax-deductible donation today. You’ll help secure our spots in the ride and support great work on the ground to protect the world’s last elephants at the same time. Thank you!

Donate Today!

 

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Audre

Audre is a writer, elephant advocate, and brand-new cyclist who's training to bike 300 miles in September to raise funds for the African Wildlife Foundation. Yes, she really is that crazy about elephants! Learn more and donate today.
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