Known for their titanic size, heather grey skin, long trunks and striking ivory tusks, the elephant is also the most empathic, compassionate and feeling creature in the animal kingdom. The ability and level to which they express emotion has been said to rival even our own. They show moving and dramatic displays of grief, joy, love, benevolence and grace throughout the course of their lives. An elephant herd will travel slowly if another member is injured and incapable of keeping up, they will remember and mourn a deceased loved one by returning to their grave and paying their respects, even years after their death, they play games and rejoice in obvious demonstrations of sheer delight when reunited with family - trumpeting, running, intertwining trunks. These ultra sentimental and touching animals are a joy and gift to our planet. On the other hand, they also feel fright, anger and stress with the same intensity. Researchers believe that after years of killings, witnessing loved ones being slaughtered, poached and losing the habitat they so greatly need, has resulted in a form of chronic stress and generational PTSD.
The elephant is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In the last century, African elephants numbered close to 5 million. There are now thought to be just 415,000 remaining in the wild, less than 10 percent. Despite a global ban on the international sale of ivory in 1990, there has been a resurgence in its demand in the past decade with 2011 seeing the highest recorded volume of illegal ivory ever seized. It is estimated that 20,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory each year. An average of 55 a day.