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Many annual celebration days have a long, storied history and carry huge global significance. Is National Elephant Appreciation Day one of them? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean that it is any less important for the ones who the day is about – and in this case, it’s all about the elephants! 

History of National Elephant Appreciation Day

Established in 1996 by Mission Media, a graphics and publishing company, the origins of National Elephant Appreciation Day are largely based on owner Wayne Hepburn’s personal fascination with elephants. His interest, in turn, began when he received an elephant paperweight as a gift from his daughter. Despite its somewhat ridiculous back story, the day has received some official recognition over the years.

That said, while native to Asia and Africa, elephants are certainly worthy of some appreciation from everyone around the world. They are, after all, the largest land mammals on the planet and sadly, many species of elephants face the threat of extinction, due to environmental factors as well as the ivory trade.

Those who love elephants and want other opportunities throughout the year to celebrate these incredible creatures can also observe World Elephant Day in August or Save the Elephant Day in April.   

How to Celebrate National Elephant Appreciation Day

So what should you do to celebrate National Elephant Appreciation Day? Well, just about anything elephant-themed. Get on board with observing by implementing ideas such as some of these:

Visit Some Elephants at the Zoo

An amazing way to show appreciation for this largest of land mammals might be to head over to a local zoo and pay them a visit on National Elephant Appreciation Day. Check the zoo’s website ahead of time to see if they publish a list of feeding times, as that is a particularly fun hour to view the elephants during their meals. Many zoos throughout the United States, and in countries all over the world, offer access for children and adults to experience elephants in a safe and calm environment.

Learn Fun Facts About Elephants

Finding out more about elephants can be a superb opportunity to celebrate National Elephant Appreciation Day. Try out some of these fun facts to learn, share and raise awareness for the day:

  • Elephants are able to distinguish languages

    Researchers believe that they can tell the difference between the languages of people groups who prey on them and those who do not.

  • Elephants are amazing hearers

    Even though their ears are enormous, another way that elephants can “hear” is using their feet, by picking up low frequency sounds through the ground.

  • Elephants can experience trauma

    Just like humans, elephants are highly emotional and intelligent creatures, and they can also show signs of PTSD when they have experienced a tragedy.

  • Elephants need their trunks to survive

    The trunk of an elephant is extremely versatile, allowing them to not only smell but also breathe underwater, pick up items, clean themselves, make sounds and even provide a defense for themselves.

Make a Donation to Help Elephants

Those who are concerned about the dwindling populations and the way this could affect the plight of these amazing animals might want to make a donation to a favorite wildlife charity that is dedicated to helping elephants. From protecting their habitat to legislating better laws to prevent poaching, many charities do all sorts of work to take care of elephants.

Take a look at some of these nonprofit organizations that help elephants:

  • World Wildlife Fund. This well-known organization offers the opportunity for patrons to “adopt” an elephant.
  • International Elephant Foundation. This charity provides protection, medical care, conservation partnerships and more.
  • Save the Elephants. This UK registered charity is based in Kenya where many of the world’s elephants live.
  • Elephants Alive. Specifically targeted toward helping the elephants who live in Africa, this nonprofit organization allows patrons to participate in a program where they become an “elephant guardian”.

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