World Elephant Day
The World Elephant Day was inaugurated on August 12, 2012 to bring to attention the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. World Elephant Day urges people around the world to conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face.
Increase in poaching activities, habitat loss as well as mistreatment while in captivity are some of the threats faced by elephants in Asia and Africa. World Elephant Day aims at providing better protection for elephants in the wild; improving enforcement policies to hinder illegal poaching and trade of ivory; conserving elephant habitats; providing better treatment for elephants in captivity; and reintroducing captive elephants back into the natural habitat
Presently, the Asian elephant is endangered while the African elephant is threatened. There are less than 40,000 Asian elephants and 400,000 African elephants remaining in the world.
Elephant is a sacred animal of Buddhism, often associated with Queen Maya, the mother of Gautama Buddha. In Thailand, Buddhists celebrate the Elephant Festival on the third Saturday of November. Elephant is also of significance to the people in Laos. Elephant is considered as a national animal in Laos and it is a symbol of prosperity and strength. Likewise, elephant is a sacred animal in India. Elephant represents loyalty, wisdom and longevity. Elephant also represents good luck and excellent fortune. Therefore, these two countries also have their own Elephant Festivals on February 19 and during Holi Festival respectively.