March was a special month for us. Not only was it OwlCrate Jr’s 4th anniversary, we got to celebrate some of the largest animals in the world! We’ve brought along some friends to help us and you’re here too!
Elephanatics is an elephant advocacy organization based in Vancouver, BC, Canada that offers free educational programs all about elephant conservations. We spoke to President and co-founder, Fran Duthie all about how elephants fight climate change and how you can be an advocate too.
Kellie: Thank you! Climate change is an important issue for everyone and you share on your site that elephants help fight global warming! Can you tell us more about this?
F: The large appetites and feeding habits of African forest elephants lead to more plant mass which stores more carbon to help mitigateclimate change. Our Lesson plan, One Mouthful at a Time, addresses this in detail. The graphic below illustrates their role in helping keep their ecosystems in balance by controlling the amount of C02 that gets stored and sequestered.
K: Can you share with us something unexpected you have learned about elephants that most people might not know?
F: I was fortunate enough to visit Kenya in 2019 and was overjoyed at viewing elephants in their wild, natural habitats. I was astounded at their ability to move so quietly. We were 10 feet away from a herd grazing on grasses in the savannah and they were so silent you would never have known they were there except their size gave them away!
The African elephant has 5 toenails on its front feet and 4 on its back feet. Their feet are flat because of a large pad of gristle under each heel which acts as a cushion to absorb sound and helps them to walk quietly. It was amazing to see such a huge animal – an average weight of 6,000 kg – gliding through the plains with such ease. A beautiful sight to behold.
K: Wow! The rules around hunting elephants have changed as recently as 2019. How can we learn to speak up for elephants?
Fran: Unfortunately, trophy hunting of elephants is still allowed in certain countries in Africa. Education is the best way to learn how to speak up for elephants. Holding marches, signing petitions, writing letters to government officials asking for the trade of elephant ivory to be banned in your country, social media involvement, volunteering for an elephant organization, and sharing Elephanatics education lesson plans! These are some of the ways that can help get the word out about the crises facing both the African and Asian elephant.
K: What does becoming Elephant Ambassador for Elephantics entail?
F: It’s as easy as sending us an email saying you would like to get on board and volunteer some of your time to help us save elephants! For more information on becoming an Ambassador, you can visit our volunteer page. We look forward to hearing from you!
K: Letter writing is a great way to advocate. It’s a way most kids can feel involved and advocate, especially in this time when we are all indoors.
F: I agree. We have the lesson plan on Ivory-Free Canada but it is actually a lesson plan that teachers should do with their students. Students learn to compose letters in support of elephant conservation while recognizing letter writing is an important civic action.