Today is World Elephant Day. Those who know me are aware of how much I love animals, and my huge soft spot for elephants. I absolutely adore everything about them. Their family bonds are admirable with mothers having strong maternal instincts and the whole family sticking together through thick and thin. They mourn their loved ones like we do and they show more empathy than some of us.
As well as this, they love to have fun by splashing around in water and rubbing themselves in dirt. So why on earth would anyone want to harm these beautiful creatures when we can learn so much from them?
The population of Asian Elephants has declined by 50% in the last generation. Why? Mostly due to the ivory trade and habit loss. Personally, I don't understand how someone can even buy something made of ivory knowing that they're encouraging poachers to slaughter more innocent wild animals. And why are people building houses on land that was home to the elephants before us?
As you can tell, I really do feel strongly about this. But so should you when there's only around 40,000 – 50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild which classes them as endangered. Obviously it's not just Asian Elephants that we need to help, over 60% of all elephant deaths are at the hands of poachers, with at least 20,000 being killed in 2015 for ivory.
But World Elephant Day is a way for everyone to acknowledge the treatment of these animals and what we can do to help stop it (it's actually sad that we need a titled day to be reminded of this).
However, it's not just wild animals that need our help, we need to do our bit to stop all animals being forced to practise 'tricks' for hours and hours for entertainment purposes and prevent tourist attractions like elephant trekking and the Tiger Temple altogether.
And we need to help those chained all day and beaten until they do these 'tricks' in circus acts.
To do this, you don't need to donate heaps of money. £1/£2 a month could go a long way, or sponsoring an elephant is a great idea.
I "fostered" an orphan called Rapa for a year at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and received regular emails with updates about what the charity was up to. And if you want to see cute photos of elephants in blankets or trying to steal milk bottles, you need to follow them on Instagram.
Another great way of helping is by signing petitions. There are loads of websites you can go on to sign petitions, like the World Animal Protection charity.
Or why not do an activity to raise money? I'm visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand in March 2018 called Elephant Nature Park, it's a rehabilitation centre for rescued elephants. So I was thinking of doing a charity event before then so I could give them the money when I get there – so I'll update this page and let you know when I've put a plan in place!
Anyway, today's blog post was just to make you aware of how serious this issue is, and how we need to help protect wild animals from humans. So, I hope this has given you the motivation to do something, little or big, to help these wonderful creatures.