August 12 – World Elephant Day

Posted August 12, 2013

Both Asian and African elephants are endangered. Habitat destruction and especially the ivory trade have drastically reduced populations of these magnificent and intelligent creatures. But people are trying to help elephants. In Thailand, elephants have been returned to forests, where they evolved to live before so many were pressed into service for human beings. 

Hopefully their numbers will rebound again!

Check out the official World Elephant Day website. There is a trailer for a movie, elephant facts, and more!

Did you know...?

  • Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth—up to 13 feet (4 m) tall at the shoulder and 14,000 pounds (6,350 kg)!
  • Like I said, elephants are very smart. They play—like when they spray themselves and others with water sucked up into their trunks. They also use crude tools such as chewed-bark balls as sponges for water. Elephants have been seen dropping rocks onto an electric fence to break it down and cut off the electricity.
  • Elephants are the only animals other than humans known to have any rituals about death. They stand in a silent circle around their dead companion for a day or two, each one leaving for a quick drink but then returning until the mourning is over. Many times scientists have observed elephants gently touching the dead body with their trunks, and, once they are certain that the elephant is really dead, covering the body with dirt, leaves, and even branches. Elephants often go back to visit the exact spot where family members have died, and people have often noticed elephants tenderly and quietly touching elephant bones.
  • Elephants have been known to have helped people who are injured and even to have buried people who are dead!
  • Some zoo elephants make abstract art, choosing colors to swish and squish paint onto canvases. Also, some elephants have been trained to play drums, harmonicas, or horns. The Thai Elephant Orchestra is a group of elephants that improvises music. Apparently the elephants in the conservation compound freely participate—those who want to play music show up when humans begin to set up the instruments, and they play! Those who don't want to come are not coaxed into playing...

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Here are my Pinterest pages on August holidayshistorical anniversaries in August, and August birthdays.

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