Today Is World Elephant Day. Here’s Why That Matters

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Today is World Elephant Day, and while that means it’s a great time to catch up on cute elephant videos online, there are also serious problems facing the species.

Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, according to the World Elephant Day website, and an estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers. Asian elephants are also in trouble: there are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants left in the world, which is less than one-tenth of the African elephant population.

Still, according to National Geographic, there are signs of hope. In 2016, the mean estimate of the Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE) dropped below 5% for first time since 2009, which means the population may be able to recover, National Geographic says. And prices of raw ivory in China dropped more than 50% between 2014 and 2015, according to the latest survey by Save The Elephants (STE), which could decrease the demand that leads to poaching.

World Elephant Day asks people to support various conservation policies to help elephants, including improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing some captive elephants into sanctuaries.

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Write to Tessa Berenson Rogers at