Friday, August 11, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Save the Elephants

I just learned that tomorrow is World Elephant Day. That’s a great reason for us all to learn about Save the Elephants.

Founded by Iain Douglas-Hamilton in 1993, the mission of Save the Elephants (STE) is “to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.”

Why elephants? In addition to being intelligent, iconic animals who attract tourists to Africa, elephants are a keystone species who play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of their ecosystems. They do this in a few ways: eating vegetation as they walk through it creates pathways for smaller animals to use, digging for water with their trunks provides water for all nearby, and um “depositing” dung far from where they eat helps disperse seeds and boosts the health of the savannah.

While it may come as no surprise that tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory, you may not know that human-elephant conflict due to livestock encroachment now accounts for almost all of the illegal elephant killings in the ecosystem. In this video celebrating 25 years of STE, they share that between 2008 and 2018, over 1,000 park rangers were killed and 140,000 elephants disappeared from Africa.

To save the elephants, STE specializes in research. They use GPS trackers to monitor over 900 elephants in 16 countries across Africa and Asia. That provides them with scientific insights into elephant behavior, intelligence, and long-distance movements. STE works with farmers on human-elephant conflict mitigation projects, and provides education and outreach programs for communities and schools. Finally, the Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting partners in Africa and ivory consuming nations and helping them meet their goals of stopping poaching, thwarting traffickers and ending the demand for ivory.

In the last 30 years Save the Elephants has engaged more than 20,000 children in northern Kenya with their educational activities. They’ve also distributed $31m to hundreds of organizations in over 40 countries through the Elephant Crisis Fund. You can read more about STE’s impact on this page.

If you’re ready to help Save the Elephants there are several ways to do so. Shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the STE Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow them on Instagram @savetheelephants.

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