6 ways to help elephants
1. Obviously, don’t buy ivory Or sell it, or wear it.
New ivory is strictly banned, but antique ivory can be legally available for purchase. (The regulations are complicated; this is a good overview.) Ivory has traditionally been used for jewelry, billiard balls, pool cues, dominos, fans, piano keys and carved trinkets. Shunning antique ivory is a clear message to dealers that the material is not welcomed, and it's an easy way to show your solidarity with the elephants.
2. Buy elephant-friendly coffee and wood Coffee and timber crops are often grown in plantations that destroy elephant habitats. Make sure to buy Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber and certified fair trade coffee.
3. Support conservation efforts If only we could all be Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey, and move to the jungle or plains and thoroughly dedicate our lives to wildlife. Alas, for most of us that’s the stuff of daydreams. In the meantime, we can support the organizations that are actively committed to elephant preservation. There are many, but here are a few:
International Elephant Foundation
Elephant Care International
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
African Wildlife Foundation
Amboseli Elephant Research Project
4. Be aware of the plight of captive elephants Historically, zoos and circuses have offered elephants a life of, basically, indentured servitude. Fortunately, the zoo industry is starting to wake up and is beginning to develop more elephant-friendly environments, yet they have a long way to go. Circuses, even further. Make a difference by boycotting circuses that use animals, and by boycotting zoos that offer insufficient space to allow elephants to live in social groups, and where the management style doesn’t allow them to be in control of their own lives. See ElephantVoices for more information. You can also support the Elephant Trails campaign of the National Zoo to improve the welfare of both wild and captive elephants.
5. Adopt an elephant Who wouldn’t want to take home a cute elephant, protect it from the bad guys, and raise it as their own?
OK, so that’s not quite realistic, but there are any number of organizations that offer elephant adoptions so that you get cute pictures of “your” elephant, and they get currency to fund their elephant conservation efforts. World Wildlife Foundation, World Animal Foundation, Born Free, Defenders of Wildlife and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust all have adoption programs and are good places to start looking for that special pachyderm.
Just Kiddies is fostering Baby Elephant BONDEMI
6. Get involved with Roots & Shoots Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, Roots & Shoots is a youth program created to incite positive change. There are hundreds of thousands of kids in more than 120 countries in the Roots & Shoots network, all working to create a better world. It’s a great way to get youth involved in conservation and pursue careers to help elephants and other wildlife.