Save the Elephant Day
Word of the Week
Sanctuary (sank-shoe-air-ee): A fancy word for a nature reserve. It comes from the late Latin word sanctuariam meaning "a sacred place or shrine." For today's topic, it simply means a safe place for animals to roam and live.
Friday, April 16th is Save the Elephant Day. It's an important times to honor these majestic creatures and help them in any way we can. The holiday itself is relatively new and was created in 2012 in efforts to make people more aware of the dangers elephants continue to face in today's world.
Let's start out with a little trivia.
The elephant is the largest living mammal on land. Which water animal is bigger?
The blue whale.
African Elephants can grow up to 8-13 feet tall and weigh 5,000-14,000 pounds! Wow!
How about learning more about elephants to better understand and honor them?
Elephants spend about 16-18 hours of their days eating. That's got to be a lot of food!
A lot of food is an understatement. Adult elephants eat 300-600 pounds of food per day! They are herbivores and eat mostly flowers, grass, bamboo, leaves, twigs, and seeds. No wonder it takes them so long to eat.
Elephants can live to be 70 years old.
They travel in herds with 8-100 other elephants.
Females carry their babies for 22 months- that's almost 2 entire years!
They have incredible memories. They also have emotions just like you and me. When they lose loved ones, they get sad and even feel grief.
They take mud baths to protect their skin from the sun. A natural sunscreen!
They drink about 30-50 gallons of water a day. That would be like filling up your bathtub and trying to drink all the water from it. No, thanks!
So, is it true that elephants are afraid of mice? Nope! What they are afraid of is even smaller. Any guesses? Elephants are terrified of bees! If they hear one buzzing, they will get away from it as fast as possible. Farmers have strategically placed beehives around their crops to keep elephants away. Now, that's thinking creatively!
Sadly, despite its size, an elephant's biggest predator is mankind. Elephants have been hunted for years for their ivory tusks. Despite making the ivory trade illegal in the 1980s, elephants continue to be killed for their tusks.
How can we help? Learn more about elephant sanctuaries. . .places for elephants to go who have been abused or neglected. There are two known elephant sanctuaries in the United States.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee consists of 2,700 acres for these beautiful creatures to roam. Visitors are not allowed, as this is meant to be their safe haven.
The Performing Animal Welfare Center in Northern California which provides homes for many exotic animals.
That's pretty neat, isn't it? I do wish we could visit a sanctuary, but I suppose that defeats its purpose.
Have a little fun with our "Trumpeting Elephant" craft this week. Simply print the attached design, cut, decorate, and insert your party noisemaker to make your very own elephant at home! Feeling really creative? Try drawing your own elephant. I drew the sample, so I promise it isn't too hard. You may need to cut the "trunk" hole a little bigger depending on your noisemaker. Have fun celebrating these amazing creatures!