Watching the 1971 movie Haathi Mere Saathi could be a dip into nostalgia. But our love for elephants and awareness of their exploitation should stretch beyond just a Hindi movie. World Elephant Day, which is observed every year on August 12, is one way of recognising the importance of the animal in our ecosystem and focussing on their preservation and protection. The first World Elephant Day was launched on August 12, 2012, to highlight the plight of Asian and African elephants. Poaching, habitat loss, conflict with humans and being mistreated in captivity are just some of the threats to African and Asian elephants.
The World Elephant Day was initiated on August 12, 2012, when Thailand-based Elephant Reintroduction Foundation teamed up with Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims. This is not just a day but a movement in itself. Since 2012, Ms Sims has been leading World Elephant Day. The World Elephant Society, of which she is the founding president, manages World Elephant Day. Ms Sims’ charitable organisation has, over the years, reached out to many people educating them on the plight of elephants and spreading awareness.
The website of World Elephant Day suggests that the purpose of this day is to bring together help and support for elephants. This day is meant to spread awareness about the threats that elephants face due to exploitation and poaching. The goal is to look for solutions to help elephants survive in a better way.
Ms Sims is quoted as saying on the website, “World Elephant Day is a rallying call for people to support organisations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products, protect wild elephant habitat, and provide sanctuaries and alternative habitats for domestic elephants to live freely.”
While World Elephant Society works in partnership with 100 elephant conservation organisations, it also urges individuals and organisations to mark this day with their own events across the globe.