Calling All Students!
We are so pleased to share our student volunteer’s blog, “Help Save the Enchanted Elephant.” Dhanvin is a grade 10 student attending Kwantlen Park Secondary School in Surrey. From his experience growing up in Asia, he has a keen sense of the need to protect this valuable species. We thank him for his time and efforts at promoting the work we do as an organization at his school.
Help Save the Enchanted Elephant
(My teacher giving an info session on Effects of Elephant Poaching)
May 9th, 2022
Hi, my name is Dhanvin. I am a grade 10 student attending Kwantlen Park Secondary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. I have offered to volunteer with Elephanatics – an elephant advocacy organization based in Vancouver – to help spread awareness about the crises facing both the African and Asian elephant and the necessity to help save these majestic animals.
Growing up in Asia I have a deep connection with Elephants. I have admired these fascinating creatures since my childhood. Elephants play a significant role in my culture. I had the privilege to touch and ride on one. I vividly remember riding on a 20-year-old Asian elephant. It felt magical riding on this magnificent creature. Riding over 7 feet high through a thick green luscious forest gave me the opportunity to reflect and reconnect with nature. This is one of my favourite memories that I will cherish all my life. Little did I know at the time that riding elephants is not good for them and can cause unnecessary pain to their backs. After reading about unethical tourism, I realized I needed to make others aware that in order to ride elephants they have to go through a horrible procedure to become tame called, ‘Phajaan’ or ‘the crush’. It means to break their spirit and they are beaten to become domesticated. Unethical tourism is a big problem and needs to end.
African and Asian elephants are powerful, compassionate and magnificent animals. They are also ecosystem engineers, playing a critical role in shaping the natural environments where they live. Ecosystems are a complicated web where animals and plants depend on each other for survival. Ecosystems have been developing and evolving for eons. It is depressing to see humans wreck these fascinating systems in just a few decades. Disrupting the balance of ecosystems can threaten human life existence on earth. In spite of the efforts from some governments, the number of African forest elephants fell by more than 86% over a period of 31 years. The African Forest Elephant is Critically Endangered and the African Savannah Elephant is Endangered and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The Asian Elephant is listed as Endangered because of a population reduction to be at least 50% over the last three generations. The biggest threat to Asian and African elephants now is habitat loss and fragmentation.
Some of the main reasons threatening the existence of elephants include:
Elephants are most vulnerable to poaching for ivory and bush meat. Unfortunately, many people take pride in hunting elephants. Over the past 200-years ivory has become increasingly valuable. At the beginning ivory was collected from dead elephants but it pains me to say that many innocent elephants are now killed to make jewellery. It is tragic that human greed kills these creatures. I feel great sorrow looking at the unfortunate poaching events involving elephants. Recent studies show elephants have begun evolving without their beautiful tusks. Approximately thirty thousand elephants are killed every year due to poaching.
Humans have become the most disruptive species on earth. With continuous expansion in human settlements there is a significant impact on our climate. Degrading climatic conditions are ruining the habitats of many animals and elephants are one of the most prominent species impacted. Their forests and grasslands have been cut down to expand cities and agricultural demands. Elephants are a keystone species and play a huge part in the worlds biodiversity.
Human Elephant Conflict
Expanding settlement boundaries have caused elephants to wander into human settlements. This has led humans to take drastic measure to protect their families and crops. According to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) over 100 people and 50-80 elephants are killed in this conflict every year. It is upsetting to see humans disrupt the delicate balance and co-existence between all species.
It is not too late to stop this destruction. In my opinion education is the best way of spreading awareness. With education we can pass on a better world to our successive generations. Although I am unable to go and help the elephants in person myself, I want to sensitize others. I have been volunteering with Elephanatics for over three months. They have given me access to a wide variety of insightful learning resources. These resources have been invaluable in helping me spread awareness in my school community by distributing the lesson plans to my teachers. My social studies teacher loved the idea of including the lesson plan and he was able to share these insightful resources with his colleagues and present a lesson plan to his students.
I have tried to start a club and organize fundraiser, I was turned down by my school admin, but I did not give up and I tried by best to spread the awareness and encourage my peers in supporting this cause. I believe I can make a difference and give our future generation an opportunity to see these stunning creatures.
If you love elephants and want to help save them, please join me in spreading the word about the crises facing elephants by sharing Elephanatics petition to end the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada – over 687,000 people have signed this petition making it one of the largest petitions in Canada.
Thank you and I hope you will join me in trying to help these magnificent creatures.
You can contact me at:
or, feel free to contact Elephanatics at: firstname.lastname@example.org