August 12, 2017
World Elephant Day is an global annual event on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants. Conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand, it was officially founded, supported and launched by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation on August 12, 2012.
The day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.
There are two species of elephants, African and Asian, and while they are similar in physiology, they are too biologically different to interbreed.
African elephants are comprised of two different species (forest and savannah), a new scientific finding discloses that ancient giant elephants living 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago across Eurasia (before eventually becoming extinct) are more closely related to the African forest elephants of today than the forest elephants are related to African savannah elephants! Prior to this finding, most experts agreed that the ancient species of giant elephant was most closely linked to the Asian elephant.
A third species?
Recent scientific findings suggest that the forest-dwelling African elephant is a genetically distinct species, making it a third elephant species.
The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.
Source: www.worldelephantday.org / www.en.wikipedia.org
Image Credit: www.worldelephantday.org