Gentle Giants: World Celebrates Elephant Day
12:52 12.08.2023 (Updated: 16:55 12.08.2023)
Elephants, the largest land mammals, are now found in the rainforests and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, although they once occupied most of the landmass (except Australia).
August 12 is celebrated annually as World Elephant Day. Conceived by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark alongside Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand Sivaporn Dardarananda, the holiday was officially founded in 2012.
The purpose of the holiday is to draw public attention to the problem of elephant extinction
. The decrease in the population of giants is primarily affected by the shrinking of their natural habitat (due to deforestation), as well as poaching for meat and ivory.
In 1989, the international trade in ivory (tusks), which is used for jewelry and handicrafts, was completely banned by a UN decision. Many countries across the world punish the killing of an elephant with the death penalty.
All elephant species are listed in the Red Book as endangered species
On average, elephants, the closest relatives of the now-extinct mammoths, live about half a century, and the longest-living elephant is Lin Wang, who lived for 86 years.
Currently, there are three species of elephants: the African savanna (or bush) elephant, the Indian elephant and the Forest elephant.
African elephants, which are larger than Indian elephants, are found in 37 countries and inhabit forests, grasslands and woodlands, wetlands and agricultural land. Forest elephants dwell in the dense forests of West and Central Africa, predominantly in the Congo Basin.
Indian elephants are found in 13 states: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
It is known that elephants can recognize
themselves in a mirror image, which is considered a sign of self-awareness that has also been evidenced in some monkeys and dolphins.
In addition, elephants have an excellent memory. They can memorize the locations of food and water sources and migration routes over many years. They also recognize each other after many years of separation.