Elephants are very special animals. Living in Africa, Asia, and Indonesia, they are the largest mammals on earth. Sadly, their populations are dwindling due to decreasing habitat and poaching. This has put them on the Endangered Species List. Humans are the reason these magnificent animals are endangered; as humans, we need to save the elephants!
We Need to Save the Elephants!
DETERRENTS TO SAVING THE ELEPHANTS
Lately, there has been a lot of flap in the US about big game hunting and the right for hunters to bring “trophies” into the US. The US president’s son has killed elephants and he declares that trophy hunting helps conservation. To me this is an extreme oxymoron. I must admit I’ve never been a fan of trophy hunting. Seeing the head of an animal hanging on a wall makes me sad and sick to my stomach. I don’t understand why people want to do that. Conservationists say trophy hunting is not good for preservation of the elephant population and any study that subscribes to this approach is unfounded.
The decrease of the elephant’s habitat is due to constant human population growth. Elephants need to travel long distances for food. An elephant needs to eat up to 300 pounds of vegetation per day. Cutting down their habitat can result in some elephants starving to death. To complicate this issue, there are conflicts with humans who are in competition with the elephants for food. Somewhere there has to be a compromise because we need to save the elephants.
Poaching is abhorrent! Poachers kill elephants for their tusks and leave the body there to rot. Any person with a soul knows that this is barbaric and wrong. Baby elephants have been found standing near their mother that was killed for her tusks. Imagine the sorrow that baby felt. Sadly, ivory on the black market can bring up to $1500 per pound.
KENYA IS TAKING A STAND AGAINST POACHERS
Officials in Kenya confiscated 105 tons of elephant tusks in 2016. They burned these tusks along with other illegal items found in shipping containers. This burn was an attempt to kill the ivory market in Kenya. This action worked for them in 1990 and the ivory market dried up for ten years.
AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE ECOSYSTEM
We need to save the elephants because they play an important part in the ecosystem. The undigested seeds and nuts found in their feces is a manner of seed dispersal. Some seeds won’t germinate without passing through the digestive system of an elephant. Elephants will uproot trees in the search of food. This helps clear forests to encourage tree growth and decreases cover to support areas for grazing animals.
REPRODUCTION IN ELEPHANTS IS SLOW
If an elephant is lucky it can live up to 70 years. Older elephants have the largest tusks, so poachers prevent many elephants from reaching an old age. Sadly, many elephants are killed before their reproduction age of 14. Calves stay in the womb up to 22 months and elephants usually don’t reproduce again for five or six years. All these factors make it difficult to increase the elephant population.
INTELLIGENCE AND EMOTIONS – ELEPHANTS ARE LIKE US
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and are very social. This is one of the saddest things about the ruthless killing of elephants. Elephants have a complex social structure and have strong family bonds. Females and calves live in herds led by a matriarch. The males live in separate herds, but they keep in touch with the female herds through a low-frequency sound. Elephants look out for each other. When a baby is born it has many mothers looking after it to be sure it is safe.
Researchers have found that elephants have emotions. They feel love, happiness, sadness, and grief just like we do. Many years ago, I read a book called “When Elephants Weep”. It opened my eyes and made me view animals in a different light. This was the moment I fell in love with elephants.
we need to SAVE THE ELEPHANTS!
Efforts have been made to save the elephants by setting up preserves. However, problems arise when the elephants wander outside the boundaries. These preserves are too small for the elephants to migrate. To solve this problem some countries are setting up corridors that link the preserves to help the elephants migrate and keep the gene pool diversified.
Although they are a somewhat odd-looking animal, elephants can steal your heart. They are intelligent, social, and have family bonds. Elephants use their trunks to smell, trumpet, reach for and pick up things, eat, drink, wave, and give themselves a shower. If you really think about it, elephants are a miracle of nature.
While elephants are the largest mammal on earth their very existence hangs in the balance. We need to save the elephants by doing everything we can. The number one thing we can do is to never buy ivory! Other things we can do is to support conservation groups, voice our opinions to our government representatives, and talk to friends and family.