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Gearing up for World Elephant Day

It’s almost August! So that means the Elephant Care Team is gearing up for World Elephant Day, which is on August 12.  The elephant species are still in danger of becoming extinct within the next 30 years, and we spend a whole day dedicated to sharing information and educating people about the plight of the elephants.

Elephants are considered a keystone species. This means that they are crucial to maintaining the ecosystem in which they live. Elephants can eat hundreds of pounds of vegetation every day. Every time an elephant eats a tree, for example, it leaves a gap in the vegetation, which creates room for smaller plants to grow and forms paths for smaller animals to use. Elephants eat a lot of fruit and assist in seed dispersal within their environment. Numerous animals depend upon the plants those seeds produce.

African elephants are considered Near Threatened, according to the IUCN Red List. This means that the elephant population is on a downward slope toward endangerment and even extinction. Elephants are still being poached for their tusks. The United States is still one of the top consumers of ivory in the world. Another threat to the African elephant species is human-elephant conflict. As stated earlier, elephants can eat a lot of fruits and vegetation. To protect their land and crops, farmers will set up sharp snares around their property or even kill the elephants. The snares can cause serious injuries and lead to death.

We, at Zoo Atlanta, are on a mission to help the African elephant population and conserve the species. The Zoo has partnered with an incredible organization, Conservation South Luangwa. Their mission is to help elephants and many other African species in Zambia and educate local Zambians about elephants and how they can help.

You can help to save the elephant species at home as well. Visiting your local zoo helps because a portion of ticket sales goes straight to conservation. You can visit 96elephants.org to learn more about conserving this amazing species. Avoid buying products made of ivory. And be sure to tune in here on zooatlanta.org and our social networks on August 12 for exclusive World Elephant Day content and at-home activities you can join from wherever you are!

Catie A.
Keeper I, Elephants

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl