Help Keep Hands Off Our Elephants
Ever since coming home from our adventure, it’s been hard to motivate myself to write much about travel on the blog. To be sure, I’m working on compiling our experiences into a travel memoir, but writing about travel here is a whole other thing.
Motivation has been lacking, but when a fellow Simbian asked me to write a post about the plight of elephants on the African continent, I figured it was time to revive my travel section. Hands Off Our Elephants is a worthy Kenyan campaign that needs to be discussed more. So here we are. I love these beautiful animals, and I want them to live on forever. Fortunately, despite the dangers they face, there are things we can do to ensure their survival.
Elephants are beautiful, intelligent and gentle giants who are still, unfortunately, hunted for their tusks. Although elephant hunting and the ivory trade has been banned in Kenya since 1973, the illegal trade continues—and is thriving. Hands Off our Elephants, however, has helped to significantly decrease this illegal activity, educate the public, and build community around protecting Kenya’s gorgeous wildlife. Hands Off Our Elephants is one of many campaigns by Wildlife Direct, a Kenyan charitable organization that’s focused on protecting Kenyan’s wildlife species—especially vulnerable ones.
Other worthy organizations help elephants too. There are great rehabilitation centers that take in orphaned elephants and nurse them back to health, then re-introduce them to the wild when they’re ready. Such centers often welcome tourists, but in a way that’s easier on the elephants than most other elephant tourism.
Choose Your Elephant Tourism Wisely
Elephant tourism is huge, and seeing these giants is appealing to many travellers. Unfortunately, elephant tourism is often detrimental to the animals. If you know anything about elephants, you probably already know that riding them is a terrible idea… but did you know that safaris aren’t always the best idea either? Large groups of tourists intruding in herds’ spaces can change elephants’ behaviours and make them more aggressive toward other members of the herd. So if you can’t ride an elephant and you can’t go on safari, how can you enjoy the elephants?
If you want to observe these beautiful animals while also helping the efforts to keep “hands off our elephants,” a good option is visiting a rehabilitation center, where orphaned elephants are cared for with great love and where your cash goes towards helping—not hurting—these beautiful creatures. In some rehabilitation centers, in addition to seeing baby elephants up close, you could also adopt an elephant, which helps with costs associated with caring for these large animals. The best part? If a trip to Kenya isn’t in your budget yet, you can still adopt one of these beautiful animals from the comfort of your armchair by sending a donation electronically, and still make a difference.
Help Spread the Word to Keep Hands Off Our Elephants
Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t know the plight of elephants, and you probably know someone who dreams of riding one or seeing one up close in the wild. If you hear these conversations, help spread the word that the best way to preserve these animals is to leave them alone, and donate to the organizations who work tirelessly to stop poaching and to give orphaned animals the best start in life. Don’t be afraid to speak up, and please feel free to share this post far and wide to help spread the word about keeping elephants safe.