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Posts tagged ‘World Elephant Day’


I have been saying for years how much I love elephants. 

I shared facts about them, praised them a few years ago on Elephant Appreciation Day, and lamented the world ivory trade.  I have posted many fun videos showing them in action.

back view

Today is World Elephant Day, so it only makes sense that I would applaud these gentle giants again.  They are truly impressive:  matriarchal, social, communicative and creative.  When I visited the World Elephant Day website, one of its logos said it all:  “BECAUSE WITHOUT ELEPHANTS WHAT KIND OF WORLD WOULD THIS BE?”


standingwalkingOf course, my encounters with elephants have not been extensive, mainly from visiting zoos.  The first time was when I was little and decided then and there I wanted a baby elephant as a pet.  It could live in the basement and backyard.  That did not seem unreasonable to me when I was five!  I also—many, many years later—was able to interact with an elephant who works in movies.  It was an arranged group visit where I was able to give Nellie a bath and join her for a walk through the Lancaster Hills.

Nellie and Me

I would love to see them in the wild often, relishing in their gentle strength and impressive presence.  Of course, living in Bakersfield, California, I do not have many opportunities to go on safari.  But I do follow de Wets Wild Blog and savor all of the animal sightings shared there from South Africa.  However, its World Elephant Day posting shows elephants in action in all their natural glory.  Please go visit this site—and enjoy!

Of course, you could also view films such as the award-winning Return to the Forest or watch the elephants at the San Diego Zoo via the Elephant Video Cam.

Photo from San Diego Zoo Website

Photo from San Diego Zoo Website

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“Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There’s bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.”   Jennifer Richard Jacobson

“Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing – if this must come – seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange such as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush. There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”  Peter Matthiessen

“It seems safe to say that apes know about death, such as that is different from life and permanent. The same may apply to a few other animals, such as elephants, which pick up ivory or bones of a dead herd member, holding the pieces in their trunks and passing them around. Some pachyderms return for years to the spot where a relative died, only to touch and inspect the relics. Do they miss each other? Do they recall how he or she was during life?”   Frans de Waal

“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”   Lawrence Anthony

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”  John Donne

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful one hundred percent.”  Dr. Seuss

“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephants except in a picture book?”  David Attenborough

 “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.”  Abraham Lincoln


Elephant Appreciation Day

A LITTLE BACKGROUNDWorld Elephant Day was celebrated on 12 August, a fact I was alerted to by the blog A Frank Angle. I was not aware that such a day had been created last year to bring attention to the plight of elephants worldwide. I also did not realize until recently that back in 1996, Elephant Appreciation Day had been established.  Elephant Appreciation Day was created to celebrate these gentle giants because they are Endearing, Loyal, Elegant, Powerful, Heavy, Amusing, Nobel, and Talented. (Yes, that spells ELEPHANT!)

Today, 22 September, is Elephant Appreciation Day.  Here is my tribute to these impressive animals that have fascinated me as long as I can remember.

I like elephants.

I mean I really like elephants.  That is actually no surprise, especially since I have written about them on my blog before.  They are huge and possess such unique attributes as a trunk with what amounts to an opposable thumb and ivory tusks that are making them targets of poachers. They have impressive hearing and communicate in a range of vocalizations, many of which humans cannot even hear without instrumentation.  They live in social groups. They are frequently trained to work whether it is moving logs, carrying tourists, or performing at circuses. Their young—who are carried in the womb for about 2 years—are just adorable.  It was a baby elephant that I fell in love with when I was five!

But it is more than their physical features that make them so remarkable.  Although I understand the scientists caution not to attribute human significance to animal behaviors, elephants do seem to exhibit activities that are endearing.  They are smart and regularly problem solve, whether it is how to help a fallen elephant stand up or how to bring food to a baby elephant trapped by a raging river.  They babysit for each other’s kids, seem to enjoy playing, and have been recorded crying over pain and loneliness.  They make friends with not only other elephants but all sorts of animals including people, grieve over the absence of friends and family, and are excited when reunited after years.  They seem to be kind, gentle, nurturing, caring.  What’s not to like?

They have even been shown to be artistic.  Ruby was an elephant at the Phoenix Zoo who liked to paint, choosing her own colors and often duplicating the color combinations she had witnessed in her world onto the canvas.  Her work would be described as more modern or abstract.  In Thailand, some elephants paint realistic pictures, marveling crowds and helping to earn an income from these shows to help support themselves.  Apparently some complain that the talent exhibited by these elephants is not natural, that the mahouts are training the elephants and prompting them through the creation of the art.  So what?  I don’t care.  The results are still pretty phenomenal as seen in each of the three videos below:

These amazing animals are definitely worthy of an Elephant Appreciation Day!  So, what do you think?  About elephants, or about other terrific animals who deserve their own days?

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 Now, here are a few more videos about elephants that you might enjoy!

Two elephants meeting after being separated after more than 20 years.  The part showing their reunion starts at about 3:50.

An elephant mourning the death of its dog friend.

Elephants Playing

The Truth about Elephant Painitng

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