Observed every year on August 12, The World Elephant Day is celebrated to create awareness and bring attention to the urgent plight (dangerous situation) of Asian and African elephants.
Background: Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clarke of Canazwest Pictures and SivapornDardarananda, secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand decided to celebrate world elephants in 2011. It was then officially founded, launched by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation on August 12,2012.
i. The day was first launched on August 12, 2012.
ii. Human activities like poaching, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity have become a great threat to both African and Asian elephants’ survival.
iii. Numerous elephant conservation organisations are focusing to curb illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries.
iv. The African elephants are listed as ‘vulnerable’ and Asian elephants are listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list of threatened species.
Singapore to ban sale of ivory from 2021:
Singapore announced on World elephant day that ivory sales will be banned from the country from 2021.
i. This comes as an initiative launched by the Singapore govt. to tighten its campaign against illegal wildlife trade.
ii. the announcement followed two years of consultation with non Government groups, ivory retailers and public.
iii. Last month, the authorities seized their largest ivory ever weighing 9tonnes of contraband tusks from 300 African elephants valued at $12.9 million which was discovered in a container from the Democratic Republic of Congo being shipped to Vietnam via Singapore. It also included pangolin scales in huge stash.
Ban in Singapore:
All forms of ivory products are banned since 1990. Traders can however sell ivory only if they prove that the ivories they sell were acquired prior to the ban by the govt.
i. The national parks in Singapore bans elephant ivory and products with effect from September 1, 2021.
ii. Violators would be jailed up to one year and fined on conviction.
iii. After the elephant populations dropped from millions to about just 6lakhs by the mid 20th century in Africa, the global trade in elephant ivory had been outlawed since 1989.