Elephants are the largest mammals (blue whales are bigger). There are many species including African, Asian and Sumatran, and all are at risk from poaching, habitat loss and conflicts with humans (they often venture into tea plantations and trample on crops). Logging and the palm oil industry are also risks to elephant friends. They roam in herds headed up by female matriachs and have strong family bonds (they don’t see well, so an elephant ‘remembers well’ more from scent.
The ivory trade is thankfully now illegal, but the Bill to ban trophy imports (which leads to illegal poaching) has not yet passed. You can’t burn inherited ivory (it’s too hard). But piano keys are no longer made with it (and tagua nuts are used to make jewellery).
authentic elephant charities to support
Elephant Nature Park was founded by an amazing (tiny) woman and offers a caring home to over 100 elephants, many rescued from begging, rides and circus shows – some are blind, orphaned, senior and disabled. All now free to live happy lives in peace, where they are loved and respected.
Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand) is a wonderful organisation that rescues elephants, named in the honour of the baby elephant rescued by the founder (from London). She married a local, and the elephants were bridesmaids, smothering her dress in mud with their trunks!
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does wonderful work protecting elephants from poachers and creating safe sanctuaries for elephants and their calves. It also safeguards wilderness areas and helps injured wildlife.
help elephants, by displaying your photos!
Display your favourite images in elephant dung photo albums! They’re made from a blend of recycled paper and elephant dung. In villages in Africa and India, elephants are sometimes shot as they trample and eat crops. But when you give villagers money to collect dung, they see elephants as friends and income. Elephants eat the equivalent of us eating 375 cans of beans a day. So that’s a lot of fibre-rich poo! And each album is unique, as the flecks depend on the food that your elephant friend ate that day!
Elephant Gin donates 15% of profits to elephant conservation. This African-inspired tipple combines 14 botanicals apples from surrounding orchards. Avoid tonic water for certain medical conditions and pregnancy (woudn’t be drinking gin anyway?)
Responsible Travel has good info on how to ensure you don’t unwittingly harm elephants abroad (by visiting ‘elephant sanctuaries’, many of which are no more than glorified zoos).