Though I love all animals, elephants hold a special place in my heart. Ever since I embarked on this adventure of illustrating, painting and creating portraits animals, the elephant has been special… there’s something about their knowing eyes, their incredible intelligence, and the way they take care of the others in their herd. Sometimes I wonder if maybe we, as humans, could learn a thing or two from the elephants.
Today, September 22nd, marks National Elephant Appreciation Day and I’d like to share some facts about these wonderful creatures. The African Elephant is the largest land mammal on earth, weighing up to eight tons. They roam in herds, consuming hundreds of pounds of food (plants) in a single day, so they need extensive land to survive. Human encroachment and habitat degradation are just two of the reasons why the numbers of elephants in the world have been dwindling. But the biggest reason for their decline is rampant ivory poaching.
100 years ago, the African elephant population was about three to five million, but has drastically been reduced due to hunting. In the 1980’s, approximately 100,000 elephants were killed every year and up to 80% of herds were lost in some regions. In the last decade, the numbers have dropped by 62% and elephants could be extinct by the end of the next decade. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed every day (or one killed every 15 minutes) by illegal poaching, leaving only 400,000 remaining.
Insatiable demand for ivory products makes illegal ivory trade highly profitable. If elephants are to survive, demand for ivory must stop. Every year, more elephants are killed than are being born, threatening the future of elephants across Africa.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare, a charitable organization I passionately support, tirelessly dedicates itself to advocating for elephants and other animals in need. The IFAW has conducted anti-poaching and wildlife crime training across Africa and Asia and is also working in collaboration with regional governments to develop a wildlife enforcement network for the Horn of Africa region. In addition, they also provide support for wildlife scouts and anti-poaching patrols throughout Africa and Asia.
I proudly dedicate 10% of the proceeds from every single sale in my store to a variety of wildlife advocacy and conservation groups, but today we exclusively dedicate 100% of our donations to the IFAW to support their efforts in protecting these beautiful creatures we know and love.
TAKE ACTION: Your purchase of a beautiful piece of art for you, your child, or a loved one, can help spare these beautiful creatures and give them hope for the future. Click on the links below to make your purchase today.