Did you know there is a World Elephant Day?
It is a day dedicated to the conservation of elephants. These majestic creatures are still being hunted and killed for their tusks, to supply the demand for ivory. While ivory bans exist in some parts of the world, many still allow the trade.
President Obama has just announced major restrictions on ivory in the US. He made the announcement while in Kenya, saying that the new legislation would not only further restrict the import of ivory into the US, but severely restrict the sale of ivory between states, limiting it only to antique pieces over 100 years old.
California lawmakers have proposed AB96, a bill that would ban ivory sales in California. The bill was drafted with the help of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign.
All of this is good news for the elephants. Restrictions on the ivory trade and education about the killing of elephants for their tusks have been largely responsible for the gains in elephant conservation.
To celebrate World Elephant Day, the LA Zoo in our very own Griffith Park will be hosting World Elephant Day Weekend, an event where you can learn about and enjoy it’s resident elephants.
Visitors to the zoo here in Los Feliz will get to see the state of the art Elephants of Asia exhibit, where they can learn about how the elephants are cared for, from feeding to the enrichment activities used to keep the elephants happy and entertained.
For families, the zoo is offering a craft area, where children can create cards symbolizing their commitment to elephant conservation which will be displayed at the Elephants of Asia Elephants Circle. Kids can also bring their toy elephants (or purchase one at the zoo) to be examined by experts and given a certificate of health.
Visitors will learn about current and past elephant conservation efforts, including the restrictions on the sale of ivory and the importance of protecting elephant habitat.
In the Thailand pavilion, you can learn about working and unemployed elephants, who are so essential to the Thai economy but are slowly being replaced by construction equipment. The Elephants of India plaza shows the impact of habitat destruction on that country's elephants. It provides waterfalls for the elephants to bathe in and hidden nooks and crannies for the trainers to place treats. You can also see the respectful relationship between the Dia people of China and elephants in the Elephants of China exhibit. Finally, enjoy the Elephant Lake in the Cambodian Pavilion, where there are many enrichment activities for the elephants.
In addition to the elephants, visitors can view the zoo’s collection of over 1000 animals, covering 250 different species. The botanical gardens boast 7000 plants representing 800 different species.
World Elephant Day Weekend runs on Saturday August 8 and Sunday August 9, from 10am to 4pm. Admission to the zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 - 61), $17 for seniors (62+) and $15 for children 2 - 12 years old. Children under the age of 2 are free. Members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association enjoy free admission.