Since 2011, August 12 has been set aside as World Elephant Day. Supported by numerous conservation agencies, it’s a day to “spread awareness, share knowledge, and provide solutions for better care and management of both captive and wild elephants,” according to the organizer’swebsite. Elephants face numerous challenges, including poaching, habitat loss, exploitation, abuse, and proximity to human conflict and poverty. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists African elephants as “vulnerable” and Asian elephants as “endangered.” On this World Elephant Day, I present a collection of images of these amazing animals.
Melbourne Zoo's newest Asian elephant receives a nudge from her mother after going on display to the public for the first time on February 10, 2010.
William West / AFP / Getty
A herd of adult and baby elephants walks in the dawn light with the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, in the background, in Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya, on December 17, 2012.
Ben Curtis / AP
A one-and-a-half-month-old baby elephant with its mother at Chitwan National Park in Chitwan, south of Kathmandu, on December 30, 2014.
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters
A mahout climbs his elephant as he heads towards the Chitwan National Park at Sauraha in Chitwan, south of Kathmandu, on December 28, 2012.
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters
An Asian elephant swims in a 65-meter-long pool at Fuji Safari Park in Susono, at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Japan, on July 13, 2015.
Koji Ueda / AP
Elephants spray villagers with water during the Songkran water festival in Thailand’s Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, on April 10, 2015.
Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters
A five-month-old-orphaned elephant named Tembo plays with his keeper, Thomas Chalice, who has nurtured the elephant at Tony Fitzjohn's Mkomazi rhino sanctuary in Mkomazi, Tanzania, on June 19, 2012.
Chris Jackson / Getty
An aerial picture taken on April 5, 2013, shows the main herd of elephants in Zakouma National Park, 800 kilometers east of N'Djamena in Chad. Ninety percent of the elephants of the park have been poached in the last decade.
Michael Lorentz / AFP / Getty
A mahout decorates his elephant using chalk while preparing for the Elephant Festival at Sauraha in Chitwan, Nepal, on December 26, 2014.
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters
A swan swims as an elephant from the Circus Knie bathes in Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland, on October 4, 2010.
Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty
Baby elephant Chima (which means “surprise”) runs through the bush at the Botlierskop game farm near Mossel Bay, about 400 kilometers east of Cape Town, South Africa, on November 30, 2009.
Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
Men ride white elephants at a camp near Uppatasanti Pagoda in Burma’s capital city of Naypyidaw on March 1, 2012.
Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
Nandong, a 25-year-old elephant mother, watches closely as her 2-week-old baby explores at the Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari on December 10, 2010.
Wong Maye-E / AP
A herd of elephants confronts a hippopotamus at a watering hole in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe on October 14, 2014. The watering hole was one of several that were contaminated by poachers with cyanide in 2013, leading to the death of at least 100 animals, according to Zimbabwean authorities.
Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters
An elephant is transported in a truck from Taungoo towards Bago, Burma, on March 20, 2012.
An Asian elephant dries off with sand in his enclosure at the zoo in Karlsruhe, Germany, on July 7, 2011.
Alex Domanski / Reuters
Two elephants reach out to each other at the Sonepur Cattle Fair in the Saran district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar on November 28, 2012.
Aftab Alam Siddiqui / AP
Kedar, a baby African elephant born on October 18, 2005, struggles to regain his footing while keeping close to his mother, Kubwa, a 29-year-old African elephant, at the Indianapolis Zoo on November 4, 2005.
Michael Conroy / AP
An elephant destroys a minibus during Sri Lanka’s sixth annual elephant polo tournament in Galle on February 15, 2007. Abey, a four-ton 18-year-old elephant, threw off his mahout and American rider and went on a rampage, destroying this vehicle, before being subdued.
Buddhika Weerasinghe / Reuters
Visitors watch bathing elephants in an indoor pool at the zoo in Leipzig, Germany, on September 16, 2008.
Eckehard Schulz / AP
A seven-and-a-half-month-old orphaned elephant calf named Moses cuddles with his adoptive “mother” and foundation owner, Jenny Webb, at sunrise at their home in Lilongwe, Malawi, on October 9, 2012. Moses was found alone and close to death in the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve.
Denis Farrell / AP
A male elephant charges towards unseen Indian villagers after they threw stones in an attempt to scare away the herd of wild elephants that strayed close to the village of Rakamjote, close to the India-Nepal border, on May 26, 2015. Indian forest guards and local villagers used firecrackers to scare away the elephants after sightings caused unease among villagers. Human-elephant conflicts are on the rise in India as villagers and farmers encroach on the elephants’ natural habitat.
Diptendu Dutta / AFP / Getty
A sedated elephant is secured on the back of a truck by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) wardens during a relocation exercise, aimed at relocating 10 elephants that were encroaching on community land, on the margins of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya on June 19, 2013.
Siegfried Modola / Reuters
Paulchen, a two-week-old African elephant, plays around in the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen near Hamburg, Germany, on April 7, 2006. The young and exuberant baby elephant wore a protective bandage to avoid injuries during play.
Kai-Uwe Knoth / AP
A herd of elephants walk in the Tsavo East National Park, 280 kilometers (173 miles) east of Kenya’s capital of Nairobi on February 10, 2011.
Noor Khamis / Reuters
A three-day-old African elephant stands beside an older elephant at the Tierpark zoo in Berlin, Germany, on May 23, 2007.