In a move to spread awareness about the plight of elephants and recognize the importance of elephants in our ecosystem, World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12.
Over the years, the initiative gained extensive support from celebrities, politicians and others.
In 2020, then Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu pledged their support to the cause. The theme for World Elephant Day 2020 was ‘Haathi Hamara Saathi’.
Javadekar revealed a beta version of Suraksha, a national platform on human-elephant conflict. Many popular actors, public figures and politicians across the world supported this cause. Some names include Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton while some Indian actors like Rana Daggubati, Randeep Hooda and Dia Mirza speaking about animal rights.
World Elephant Day 2021: History
On August 12, 2012, the first World Elephant Day was observed, highlighting the plight of Asian and African elephants. The Thai-based Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, in collaboration with Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims, organized the event for the day. And since 2012, The Sims has been a leader in World Elephant Day.
The day also focuses on spreading awareness about their preservation and protection. Notably, various threats including, poaching, habitat loss, mistreatment in captivity hover over elephants, especially Asian and African.
Over the years, Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims's charitable organisation World Elephant Society has educated many and has also created awareness on an international level for elephant protection.
The Society works in partnership with 100 elephant conservation organisations. Several organisations and individuals are urged to come together to raise awareness about the challenges that elephants face.
The organization’s “unbiased” approach allows and encourages campaigns by all groups and citizens under the common umbrella of “World Elephant Day”.
World Elephant Day 2021: Significance
According to recent data of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), there are roughly 440,000 elephants left on the planet. The WWF also revealed that every year around 15,000 elephants are hunted by poachers. It is not only our responsibility to take measures for their conservation but also create awareness about the possible ‘Elephant Extinction.’
Meanwhile, despite being cultural and religious icons in India, elephants are badly treated by unschooled mahouts. Many elephants fell prey to electrocution, train accidents, poaching and poisoning.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the number of wild Asiatic elephants has dipped below 50,000, which is just 15% of its historic average. Wild Asiatic elephants are primarily found in India and in some parts of Southeast Asia.
World Elephant Day 2021: Support the cause
To observe World Elephant Day, Blue Dart will plant 1,031,170 trees for elephants on the outskirts of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in East Singhbum, Jharkhand. While Grow-Trees.com is planting millions of trees in Singhbhum Elephant Reserve, Jharkhand to repair fragmented migration routes, create sheltered and screened areas for elephants and expand habitats.
World Elephant Day 2021: Theme
This theme for this year’s World Elephant Day has not been announced, however, last year it was ‘Haathi Hamara Saathi.’