If you have been following our Facebook feed you will notice that Space Station has sponsored an elephant. The orphaned elephant, Quanza, is just over two years old and is a lovely elephant but she is still very wary of humans having lost her mother and two sisters to poachers.
Our choice to sponsor Quanza the elephant isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems. Yes, there was the obvious connection of our Space Station mascot being an elephant but beyond that we recognise the majestic beauty and sheer intelligence of these mammals, so long hunted by humans.
Ironically in the past there was a time when many self storage lockers (across the world) would, unbeknown to them, have stored ivory, not then banned. This was before the ivory trade’s cruel effects were as well as they are today. Ivory was once seen as a luxury item, one that represented status and wealth. Thankfully, since the sale of Ivory was banned in 1989, ivory has become less and less popular in the UK and abroad, and in turn a more rare occurrence in storage facilities. Sadly though the elephant population is still in decline.
A recent aerial survey carried out in Tanzania of the Selous ecosystem found that following the global Ivory Trade Ban in 1989, the elephant population recovered to about 55,000 elephants by 2007. Sadly at this point elephant killings escalated and by 2009, Selous elephants were down to about 39,000. The latest, recently announced population estimate is 13,084. This indicates an unprecedented decline of nearly 80 percent over the last six years . So, you can see that far from the introduction of the Ivory ban being the end of the elephant’s need for support, it is only the beginning.
Elephants are incredible creatures, they mourn like humans do, they collaborate like humans should and they have one calf at a time and love it and care for it in a way that strikes a resemblance to that with which we look after our own offspring.
Elephants are gregarious animals that live in herds of usually 10 – 20 but can be as large as 50. The herds are led by the oldest female-the matriarch, and the herds can be seen to work together to find water and food and to protect the young. An elephant can live for up to 80 years providing it stay healthy and are surprisingly graceful for their massive body weight.
Whilst we are sure that Quanza would love being looked after by the wonderful Space Station team, we felt she might be happier a little closer to home so she is currently living at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya which specialises in caring for orphaned elephants. If you would like to foster an elephant you can find out more about how you can foster and how you can get to know your elephant here.