Wednesday, August 12, 2015

World Elephant Day - Help National Geographic Save Animals in the Wild

** I am part of the National Geographic Kids Insiders program.  A Geek Daddy received special perks as part of my affiliation with this group but no financial compensation **

My daughter has really become intrigued by elephants since she started reading the National Geographic Kids book MISSION: ELEPHANT RESCUE.  This 107 page book is full of color photographs providing up close views of elephants and their habitat.  It provides lots of interesting facts about elephants, stories about the plight of elephant populations being depleted and facing extinction due to poaching and habitat loss, and how people, even kids, can make a difference in helping save wild elephants.

After reading through MISSION: ELEPHANT RESCUE, my daughter asked if we could go somewhere to see one up close.  So we ventured over to the elephant habitat at the Toledo Zoo.  My daughter was thrilled to see real life elephants during our visit to the zoo but also told me she was a little sad.  I asked her why and she told me that it really would be a shame if the only places elephants lived were in circuses and zoo so that none of them lived on their own in the wild anymore.

Unfortunately, the world's largest land animal is threatened with a very small area of remaining habitat and shrinking herd populations making it harder and harder for them to remain vibrant in the wild. As our family's contribution to helping preserve wild elephant herds and habitat on this World Elephant Day ( August 12 ) we are helping promote the book that inspired my daughter's interest in learning more about elephants National Geographic Kids MISSION: ELEPHANT RESCUE.  Proceeds from the sale of this book go directly toward funding the non-profit National Geographic Society's efforts to support endangered animals and their habitats.  National Geographic also works to educate people so they can understand how to be advocates and take action to help preserve our planet's wild animals and places through publications such as MISSION: ELEPHANT RESCUE.

In recognition of World Elephant Day, here are also some interesting facts highlighting how incredible of creatures these pachyderms are:
  • There are two main species of elephants: the Asian Elephant and the African Elephant.  The African elephant is the larger of the two and both the males and females of this species have tusks.  Unfortunately poachers hunting elephants for the ivory their tusks are made of is one of the greatest threats to elephant populations.  Some African countries are removing the tusks from wild elephants to try and protect them from poachers.
  • Elephants don't like peanuts.  They don't eat them in the wild and zoos don't feed them to the animals in captivity.  My daughter was excited to learn this because due to a severe food allergy she doesn't eat peanuts either.  Prior to learning this she had been a little disappointed that one of her favorite animals appetite was for a food she couldn't be around.
  • Elephants are the largest land mammals on our planet and that is reflected in how they eat.  Elephants can eat as much as 300 pounds of food and spend up to 16 hours eating per day.
  • Despite their size elephants love to swim and can use their trunk as a snorkel when swimming in deep water.
  • An elephant's trunk contains more than 40,000 muscles which are more than there are in the whole human body.   A trunk is very dexterous with the ability to grasp and pick up something as small as a single grain of rice or blade of grass.  It is also strong enough to tear down a tree.
  • Just like you and I, elephants can get sunburned so they throw sand on their heads and back to protect themselves.  They also do this to keep bugs off of them.
  • Elephants will avoid bees and ants because they don't want them getting into their trunks which are lined with sensitive nerve endings.  Farmers in Kenya have begun to line the fields they plant their crops in with bee hives to ward off elephants.  In addition to protecting their farmland, the honey from these hives provide the farmers with extra income.
  • The elephant's closest living genetic relative is a small furry badger like animal called a Rock Hyrax that lives in rocky landscapes across the African sub-Saharan region and along the coast of the Arabian peninsula.
  • Female elephants have the longest pregnancy of any mammal at 22 months.  Newborn elephants can weigh up to 260 pounds, a comparable weight to that of an adult man. 


  1. I agree with your daughter it would be said if elephants were only found in zoos and circuses. I'm glad animals are rescued and saved then placed in zoos, but I'd much rather see them in their natural habitat.

  2. I agree with her too. I'm glad the Barnum circus isn't going to use them as much anymore. Also, 22 months for a pregnancy?! Wow.

  3. Ughhh doesn't it break your heart when kids drop such perfect insight bombs and make you question everything we do as adults??! Why AREN'T elephants lucky enough to just live on their own? Good job on talking to her about these issues. The sensitivity kids feel should always keep on being nurtured! That's what makes for smart adults. :)