Elephant Appreciation Day

September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day and in their honor, Shutterhedge is featuring parts of an article from the Mother Nature Network that talks about the six ways we can help elephants—

The lust for ivory and the situation in Africa have created what is likely to be the greatest percentage loss of elephants in history. Many fear that the survival of the species is at stake.
What can we do?
If you’re a mercenary, you can strap on your Rambo gear and go to Africa to fight warlords and poachers. If you’re in China and purchase ivory objects, you can decide to stop. But what about the rest of us? None of us can single-handedly stop the ivory trade, but we are not helpless — as much as it may feel like it. Here are six actions we can take to support these grand creatures.
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:
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 FoundationWorld Animal FoundationBorn FreeDefenders of Wildlife and theDavid Sheldrick Wildlife Trust all have adoption programs and are good places to start looking for that special pachyderm.
6. Get involved with Roots & Shoots
Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, Roots & Shootsis 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.”

To read the full article click here.