Elephants are one of the world’s most iconic species, one which we first learn about in early childhood and which most will recognise as a magnificent symbol of Africa’s rich wildlife. For good reason. The African elephant is the world's largest land mammal, so it’s no surprise they make a big impact. And that impact includes helping to keep their habitats healthy.
Elephants are also found in Asia – there’s the Sumatran elephant, Indian elephant and Sri Lankan elephant. Asian elephants are endangered; their numbers have declined by about 50% in the last three generations to around 40,000-50,000 individuals now.
Elephants face many similar threats in both Africa and Asia, including habitat loss, human-elephant conflict, climate change and poaching.
Every year, around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers for their tusks, which are then sold in the illegal ivory trade. That’s an average of one every 25 minutes.
This devastating trade not only poses a threat to elephants, it also affects security, economic growth and the well-being of local communities.
WWF is working hard to stop the illegal ivory trade, which can be helped by closing legal domestic ivory markets globally. You may not know it but some ivory trade is still legal in the UK.
The problem is some ivory antiques from the UK are legally shipped to Asia, where demand is driving the poaching crisis. A legal ivory trade can also provide a cover for criminals to launder illegal ivory.
How you can help
This World Elephant Day you can help take a stand for elephants by signing our petition urging the UK Government, to ban the UK elephant ivory trade.
Sign our petition to #StopIvoryTrade in the UK.