Elephant Appreciation Day

September 22nd is International Elephant Appreciation Day, I learnt from Emma Ayres on ABC Classic FM this morning. Elephants are a constant source of wonder for us, so large, so strong, and yet so gentle and of course very intelligent. Animals that are now endangered through habitat loss in both Asia and Africa. I thought of our own association with elephants, which we in Australia know from zoos, circuses, and documentaries. There is a plethora of children’s books featuring elephants, one of the first perhaps was Babar the Elephant.

Along with Babar you might have read the Saggy Baggy Elephant, or Horton Hears a Who. We have a charming book called “May I Bring a Friend?” in which a young boy is invited to dine with the king and queen, who always agree that he may bring a friend. During the course of the book he brings a series of animals from the City Zoo, including the elephant.

So we sat on my friend. (from May I Bring a Friend by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers)

When the boy arrived with the elephant The king said “Hello.” The queen said with a frown, “I don’t know where your friend can sit down.” So we sat on my friend.

Another elephant yogis may be familiar with is Ganesh, the Elephant-Headed God. Ganesh is the Lord of Obstacles, and is also revered as the Lord of Letters and Learning. These attributions reflect the elephant’s strength and intelligence. But Ganesh is also thought to personify the Hindu mantra OM, the primal sound, all that is.

Whatever we think of elephants, let us pray that they survive with us through this stressful time on earth, that a place is always made for them to live free in the wild, and that we may learn from them their peaceful way of life.

Elephant ride at Taronga Zoo in 1975

Here is comprehensive website about elephants, you should find an answer to any question you have.

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