It’s “World Elephant Day”…
Maybe you’ve learned to love them via educational programming or years spent working in the field as a professional conservationist or environmentalist. Perhaps you’ve landed upon the small handful of reputable sanctuaries where you could be a hands-off, keep-your-distance observer, or you’ve found an ethical safari guide.
Perhaps your Elephant Love is offered through habitat restoration, social service, community renewal, or maybe you simply enjoy knowing that such a marvelous creature exists on this planet. No matter how you may have become engaged in the world of elephants, it is easy to see they inhabit some of the best qualities any of us could ever hope to possess.
But nothing exists independently in nature, and certainly not in a world jam-packed with humans, many of whom possess seemingly none of the qualities attributed to elephants, and many whose atrocious actions have elephants either on the brink of eradication or chained and abused in the name of entertainment, culture, or religion.
There is another piece to the puzzle of elephant welfare, less popular and often ignored, and that it is the rural communities who have long lived among them. Sometimes vilified, sometimes seen through a rosy exotic lens, many times used as pawns to create money-making ventures which often do not “trickle down” to help the communities of humans living among the communities of elephants.
Sometimes the Big Picture gets distorted by human desire for a particular experience. The shape of the world we’re living in now beseeches us to look past what we want to see to make sure what we’re really being sold (ie what we’re buying) is truly helping turn conflict into coexistence. For the elephants (and all the other animals who may or may not have their own “world” day), but also for the local populations whose every-day lives are informed and impacted by where and how you travel, what you eat, what you purchase, and how you advocate for what you care about.
~To a kinder world for us all~