In many of the countries where our world goods are made, elephants are revered, respected and even worshipped. They are also pushed out of their natural habitats by development and pollution, trapped for zoos and amusement parks and illegally poached for their increasingly valuable ivory tusks. On August 12, World Elephant Day reminds us that without increased conservation efforts and care the majesty of Asian and African elephants will soon become just a memory.
Elephants have an average lifespan almost as long as our own, a rich language, complex social traditions and a deep loyalty to their tribe. They are a keystone species in their environment, making essential contributions to the ecosystems where they live. They are big, beautiful and inscrutable. Their babies are completely adorable. In Chinese, the phrase “to ride an elephant” sounds the same as the word for “happiness.” The white elephant is sacred in Thailand and plays a role in the birth of the Buddha. In Africa and Asia, elephants help humans haul heavy loads, travel great distances and support complex ecosystems.
We love elephants. And yet elephants are in grave danger, and it is our fault. African Elephants are critically endangered and Wild Asian Elephants are on the brink of extinction. Less than 100 years ago, there were millions of elephants roaming the continents of Africa and Asia. Today, there are less than 400,000. The black market for illegal ivory is booming, deforestation for lumber and farming is destroying their food and water supply, and they continue to be captured and displayed for our entertainment. An average of 100 elephants are killed every single day through poaching, starvation or captivity.
If we can’t turn these trends around, elephants will be mostly extinct within ten years.
At Mexicali Blues, we can’t imagine a world without elephants. Rooted in the Muladhara chakra, elephants symbolize memory and sociability, happiness and strength, love and protection. You’ll find elephants all over some of our most popular clothing, jewelry and accessories.
We love elephants, and we want to do something to help. Today we’re taking action for World Elephant Day, and we hope you will, too.
Here are some things you can do to help elephants:
- Tweet #WorldElephantDay to spread the word about the plight of elephants and visit the World Elephant Day Press Room for Facebook cover photos, sample blog posts, tweets, and more!
- Color for #elephants with the #EleeDraw challenge. Download it here
- Help elephants #BeHerd and join the STAMPede @96Elephants
- Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Be an elephant aware consumer.
- Support one of 10 elephant conservation projects in critical landscapes through The Bodhi Tree Foundation’s ‘Power of 10’ initiative.
- Study elephants in their “keystone” role in the environment and interrelationships with plants and other animals because all of nature is interconnected.
- Visit elephants in countries where they live in the wild – tourism benefits the economy, provides needed jobs, deters poachers and abuse, and gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty, intelligence, and emotional capacity of these magnificent giants.
- If you wish to experience elephants in their natural environment, choose eco-tourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity.
- Learn about and support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict.
- Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products.
- Support organizations that are protecting wild elephant habitat.
- Support organizations that are building natural sanctuaries and alternative habitat for domesticated elephants to live freely.
- Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit.
- Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants, wild animals and natural resources. Learn about indigenous cultures that have traditionally lived in harmony with elephants.
- Be aware of elephant habitat. Do not buy coffee that is not fair-trade or shade-grown, nor products with palm-oil. These commercial crops are grown in plantations that have decimated elephant habitats. Only buy wood products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible management of the world’s forests – the natural habitat for elephants and other wildlife.
- Talk about elephants at your school. Initiate an elephant study group to share knowledge and ideas about the plight of elephants and what can be done to ensure their survival into the future.
- What do you love about elephants? Their intelligence, empathy and caring for one another are just a few of their qualities. Embrace these qualities and live them in your own life.
- Use your love of elephants and World Elephant Day, August 12, to start a conversation with the next person you meet. Tie a string around your finger right now so, like an elephant, you don’t forget!