The savanna-dwelling elephant population has been on a steady decline and goes down by 8% each year. A declination is also seen with elephants living in forest, dropping 62% from 2002 to 2013. The reason behind the deaths is linked to the illegal global trade of ivory.
Thanks to carbon dating, researchers are able to identify how old the illegal ivory is. After analysis, it was discovered that most of the ivory was from elephants who have been poached within the past three years. Due to the increase in poaching, many fear that the elephants won’t survive.
The fear of extinction is driving many to take action. You don’t need to be based out of Africa to help save the elephants. No matter where you are located, you can help with the following actions.
Don’t buy ivory.
This is a pretty obvious action, but it needs to be said. Don’t buy, sell, or wear it. While new ivory is banned, you can still purchase antique ivory. In the past, ivory has been used to make jewelry, piano keys, and carved trinkets. By not purchasing antique ivory, it helps get the message across to dealers that the material is not welcome.
Buy wood and coffee that is elephant-friendly.
Plantations that grow coffee and timber crops often destroy elephant habitats. They can drive these animals out of their homes. Look for timber products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and coffee that is fair trade.
Support conservation efforts.
Most of us can’t leave our current lives to become the next Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey. But, we support organizations that are working to make the world a better place for Elephants. There are so many to choose from, but here are a few favorites:
Wear your support.
With just a quick Google search, you will find many organizations that make T-shirts, bumper stickers, wristbands and more that spread awareness of the poaching crisis. A good chunk of the proceeds will go directly back to elephant conservation charities.IvoryElla, Zazzle or Elephant Diaries are all great brands to check out.
Adopt an elephant.
Bringing a baby elephant home and raising it in your backyard is a little unrealistic, but there are organizations that have adoption programs. By adopting an elephant, you will get pictures and updates on the elephant and your money will go towards conservation efforts. If you are interested in adopting an elephant, check out World Wildlife Foundation, Born Free or World Animal Foundation. Each one of these organizations has its own adoption program!