The elephants must have known we were celebrating World Elephant Day this week as they have been turning out in full force to bask in their celebrity status. We have been spoiled with sightings of ellies drinking and frolicking in the camp dam, and appearing at almost every turn. We’ve seen groups big and small, and were even lucky enough to watch one “little” guy nursing on his Mom.
World Elephant Day, August 12, was created to celebrate these magnificent creatures and to make sure people everywhere realise how perilously close we are to losing them forever. It is estimated that an elephant is poached every 15 minutes; that’s ninety six a day or 36,000 a year. If the killing continues at this rate, there will be no elephants left in the wild come 2025. This is the deciding decade – a critical time in the life of this beautiful and important animal.
The Elephant is what is known as a keystone species. Their activity influences the landscape, the plants and the other animals around them. When they knock down a tree, other animals gain access to the leaves for food and others find a new place to build a nest and breed. There is no better propagator of plant life. Their droppings deliver seeds to new locations, conveniently encased in fertilizer. Their impressive footprints catch rain water creating small pools for other animals to drink from. Virtually every move they make creates ripples through the eco system. The landscape of the African Bush will be forever changed without their majestic presence.
There are many organizations working to ensure the survival of elephants. Let’s throw our support behind them to ensure the survival of this magnificent species.
Words and photos by Jacquie Gauthier