|Dog Ruger and some of the team. Photo by Michelle Gadd/USFWS|
As our children learn to read, we teach them that “E is for elephant.”
It’s hard to believe that one of the world’s most well-known and beloved animals, a staple of children’s alphabet books and stories, is fighting for its very existence. But these magnificent creatures are, and there is no better time than today – World Elephant Day – to remember African and Asian elephants and continue our hard work to help both of these species that are threatened with extinction.
In Africa, poaching for ivory poses the biggest threat to elephants. We lost 95 percent of elephants there during the 20th century, and now we risk losing the remaining 5 percent. The thriving illegal trade in ivory makes every elephant a target for ruthless, well-armed criminal organizations that are driven by greed.
We have raised awareness here at home about the plight of the elephants with our two Ivory Crushes. We also support on-the-ground conservation in countries across Africa through our African Elephant Conservation Fund, including efforts with the South Luangwa Conservation Society to launch a wildlife detector dog program in Zambia.