On September 24-25 the El Paso Zoo hosted Elephant Festival, a fun weekend full of activities to bring awareness to the plight of elephants in the wild.
As I prepped my tent for the weekend, I found some hard hitting numbers and facts in my research. For the event I made an interactive educational elephant time line from 1900 to today. I was shocked at some items I discovered. Here are my top ten.
1. Estimated numbers of elephants in 1900
African = estimated around 5-10 million
Asian = estimated 100,000 – 200,000
Estimate number of elephants Today
African = between 470,000 – 600,000
Asian = around 30,000 – 40,000
2. 100,000 African elephants died per year in the 1980s.
3. The cost of ivory started around $2.50 per pound and rose to $125 per pound!
4. An estimated 70% of the world’s forests have been destroyed.
5. Human elephant conflicts are a major problem. The less habitat there is, the more elephants and people compete for the same resources and deaths on both sides occur.
6. I do not agree with culling elephant populations at this time. Why kill more?!
7. Until 2008 you could buy ivory online on Ebay. In 2008 Ebay banned it’s sale on their site.
8. Droughts in the early 2000s killed many elephants.
9. Poaching for Ivory is still happening! In July of 2011 Kenya burned 5 tons of ivory and elephant tusks to bring attention to the issue and make statement to poachers.
10. Palm oil. Palm oil. Palm oil. To read a recent blog post about the palm oil issue click here. Or take a look at this quick graphic to understand.
Throughout the weekend there were Elephant Produce Hunts, Breakfast with the Elephants, Tents on palm oil, elephant biology, the flying squad and my interactive elephant timeline. There was also Asian food, belly dancers, an elephant parade and a huge blow up elephant!
I took a ton of pictures of all the activities during the weekend. Take a look at them all here!
Here are a few to entice you:
Fun and learning combined. I love it.