Protecting a Species From Extinction
Elephants are one of the most incredible creatures on the planet earth. They are intelligent, uniquely emotional and considered a keystone species in the environment which has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance. They can travel up to 30 miles a day, their family structures are complex. Some have tusks which makes them a majestic creatures in the animal kingdom.
But in human-dominated world these distinct features have clearly led them to a misery.They are being abused, displaced from their natural habitats ,being killed and moving towards the extinction of the species.
Captured elephants are trained for human entertainment in circuses. They are held in isolation within substandard facilities facing boredom and most of the times get abused at the hands of humans. Their natural life is devastated and they are destined to a life of suffering. One of the most terrible impact of the captivity has on elephants’ life expectancy. In their natural habitats an elephant can live up to 60 to 70 years but under captivity average life expectancy cut in half. Number one culprit for deaths of the captive elephants is foot disease, infection in the bones in their feet that become systemic and joint disease.
Another place where elephants are held captive is zoo. They lack sizable habitats and elephants are mostly out of their natural diet. Some Zoos need to be given a little credit, there are some that are trying to make a difference, expanding enclosures and providing a more natural diet but the limiting parameters and lack of sizable habitats cannot be disregarded.
Poaching is another threat elephants face in the wild. They are being hunted for ivory or other body parts. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts. Most consumers of ivory are unaware of the fact that the elephants are slaughtered for their tusks and they often come across slow painful deaths by poisoned arrows and spears. This is an International tragedy needs global attention. International media plays a role by making videos of the disaster but yet it hasn't grabbed the proper attention of the public. Unless the ivory trade is stopped there will be less hope for the survival of the species.
Human Elephant conflict is emerging as a major concern with the ever-growing human population. Humans acquire the space of the native wild life for various needs including provide accommodation for the growing population. While deforestation causes many other effects such as climate change elephants' attacks on humans and properties is also a result of this. They won't be attacking humans if their only habitats were not taken away from them. They are forced to move to densely populated areas as a result of this Elephant families are being broken, their ancient pathways are lost or inaccessible and their genetic diversity is lost. This issue exists mostly in areas with poverty and people not abide by the rules which are in place to protect elephants natural habitats. Elephants cause injuries or deaths to the humans, crop raiding, competition over resources and on the other hand elephants are killed by human. It is estimated that 300-500 people are killed by elephants each year. The number of elephants killed by humans due to elephant-human conflict is unclear as many elephant deaths are reported as ‘accidents’ or not at all.
What We Can Do?
Perhaps we will not be in a capacity to act to avoid these things happening. But there are things we can do which can impact the lives of the elephant species.
1.Should not attend circus in which animals are used for shows
Using animals in circuses should be discouraged completely since they are mostly abused, mistreated and malnourished. They are taken away from their herds and natural habitat and they are living a life far from the normal life they deserve.
2.Stop riding elephants
You are probably riding an animal who is exhausted, somewhat malnourished, possibly stolen from the wild and lives a life in captivity. Your excitement brings misery to the life of that animal. Letting a complete stranger sit on his back time after time is a harassment for a creature born to be lived in the wild.
3.Avoid zoos which can't mimic elephants’ natural habitat
If you really need to visit Zoos find places where elephants are provided spaces closer to their natural habitat. They should possess sufficient space, required temperature and companionship from other elephants. Make sure they allow the animals to stay outside at least 75% of the year. Some trainers say their elephants are peoples elephants emphasizing the bond they have with their caretaker.But this is a result of not having any member of their species around to make a relationship. There are elephants who genuinely love mankind but nothing can replace being with a member of the same species.
4.Avoid buying stuff made from ivory
The smallest piece of ivory in an item you purchase has led to a killing of an elephant probably in a painful way. So refuse products which include ivory and let that market shrink in order to stop killing animals.
5.Visit true sanctuaries
Those sanctuaries allow small groups of visitors to observe animals from distances. Elephants should look healthy, no open wounds, no injuries, should not be skinny. They are signs of some hidden practices when visitors are not around. The beauty of elephants remains when they stay as natural elephants. They should be free to engaged in their natural activities like dusting, swimming, natural gazing, sleeping, socializing with other elephants.
6.Pay attention to local legislation which provide additional rights for animals
7.Educate your friends
Making them aware of the miserable life they live in zoos, how ivory causes them painful deaths, how they are abused in circuses where we are entertained; these things can make a blow in them which would eventually gather a large crowd around the cause of protecting the species ultimately can make a substantial impact on the wellbeing of the animal.