It’s #WorldElephantDay, everybody! I adore elephants. They’re one of my favorite animals. So I figured this would make for a perfect post!
So here are some fun facts about elephants:
- Elephants are the largest living land mammal and females have the longest gestation at 22 months
- Female elephants stay together in groups led by a matriarch that tells them where to go and when
- Male elephants stay with the group until they’re around 15 at which time they will form an all male group
- Elephants and peanuts don’t really go together – they don’t eat them in the wild and they aren’t fed peanuts in zoos
- Elephants’ closest relative on land is a rock hyrax (and if you’ve never seen one, they are adorable)
- Elephants can call one another in a pitch so deep that it creates seismic vibrations that other elephants can pick up through their feet for up to 110 square miles in optimum conditions
- Elephants are keystone species and play a critical role in the structure of their ecological communities
- An elephant’s brain weights 11 pounds, making it the largest brain of all land animals
- Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror and show signs of self awareness and empathy
- Elephants can create tools, sometimes modifying branches to use as flyswatters
- An African Elephant’s tusks can grow to over 11 feet long and can weigh 220 pounds
- There are more muscles in an elephant’s trunk than in the entire human body and it is strong enough to rip down a tree and delicate enough to pluck a blade of grass
- Elephants have no natural predators and yet the African Elephant is vulnerable and the Asian Elephant is endangered
- Humans are the biggest threat to elephants through poaching, habitat destruction, and deforestation
- Despite the Ivory Ban of 1990 and the effort of many countries since, elephants are still being killed at an alarming rate
Just look at these creatures
Sir David Attenborough said it best (as he usually does) when he said “The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” That’s why World Elephant Day is important. And there is good news this year! The price of raw ivory dropped in China more than 50% between 2014 and 2015 according to Save the Elephants latest survey. And according to National Geographic, the Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE) has dropped to its lowest percentage since 2009. Yay progress!
But numbers about elephant poaching are notoriously hard to verify and there is still so much to be done. But when it comes to what an individual can do, the answer is plenty! After there was so much public outcry about the treatment of elephants in shows, Ringling Brothers agreed to phase elephants out of their circuses by 2018. The voices were heard.
And there are a lot of fun ways to get involved. World Elephant Day’s website has a pledge for people to sign in support of their efforts. You can download the #EleeDraw 2016 coloring page here and post a picture of your creations to Instagram (be sure to use the hashtags #EleeDraw and #WorldElephantDay so everyone will be able to see!). You can also snag some rad elephant harem pants at a discount today from The Elephant Pants, an African Wildlife Foundation corporate sponsor. So you can save the elephants and look awesome doing it. Or you can have fun and doodle while you get the word out, like me!
— DokoMorning (@DokoMorning) August 12, 2016
Keep an eye out for a new elephant themed card in the Etsy shop this weekend! Happy #WorldElephantDay everybody!!