Today is World Elephant Day, a global celebration of what we think is nature’s masterpiece–the elephant. Whether it is an Asian elephant, African Forest elephant or African Savannah elephant, ALL elephants are incredible and important to our world. In honor of World Elephant Day, let’s learn a little bit about each species:

With only 40,000-50,000 left in the world, Asian elephants have surviving populations in just 13 countries. Known for their smaller ears, rounded backs, and single “finger” on the ends of their trunks, Asian elephants have lived alongside humans for thousands of years. In fact 1/3 of Asian elephants in the world live in some form of managed care whether in protected preserves, National Parks, or in human care. Habitat loss and fragmentation, competition for resources, and the resulting human-wildlife conflict is threatening their survival. In some regions it is predicted that Asian elephants could go regionally extinct within the next 10 years.

Although estimated to have a population of 40,000-50,000, true population numbers for the African Forest elephant are unknown. They are the newest recognized species of elephant, living in dense forested regions of western and central Africa. They stand shorter than their Savannah cousins, with straighter tusks, but share the same large ears and two fingers at the end of their trunks. Their survival is threatened by political insecurity, habitat loss, and poaching as their ivory is prized among poachers.

The African Savannah elephant, the world’s largest land animal, lives in sub-Saharan Africa and has an estimated population between 400,000 and 500,000 individuals. To put that in context that is 10 times more than both Asian or Forest elephants. But African Savannah elephants still need our help. They face poachers, human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss, and more. Both male and female Savannah elephants have large tusks, making them prime targets for poachers. They are known for their impressive size, big ears, and have two “fingers” at the end of their trunks.

As our world keeps getting smaller, elephants face more and more threats. All hope is not lost. Your support of IEF means that together we are making a positive difference for elephants everywhere!

IEF has 28 projects in 17 countries this year alone, helping each of the three species of elephants.

Conservation Response Units in Sumatra help protect and preserve habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran elephant and the many incredible species who share the ecosystem.

GPS satellite collars combined with habitat patrols and community education are helping to protect the African Forest elephant while enabling us to learn more about them.

Anti-poaching patrols in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and throughout Africa protect the Savannah elephant from poachers.

Today, on World Elephant Day, you can help secure a future where elephants thrive!