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world elephant day

Elephant eyelash at Tsavo East National Park , Kenya. Worldwide Features / Barcroft Me / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Catching an elephant from the wild can shorten its life by several years, a new study shows.

For the study, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, researchers studied records of 5,000 timber elephants in Myanmar to understand the effects of capture. They determined that capturing and taming wild-caught elephants resulted in a median lifespan that is 3–7 years shorter than their captive-born counterparts.

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Scientists estimate that more than 25,000 elephants are being killed for their ivory every year. If that pace continues, elephants could be extinct across much of Africa within our lifetimes.

The Nature Conservancy is working with partners around the world on four main strategies to solve this complex crisis:

1. Increase Security

The conservancy is helping train and equip heroic wildlife rangers to be able to patrol millions of square miles of elephant habitat.

2. Secure Habitat

Elephants can travel up to 30 miles a day in search of food and water, so they need a lot of space. The conservancy helps protect large, connected landscapes and works with partners to implement creative solutions, such as building a highway underpass.

An African elephant with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.The Nature Conservancy in Africa

3. Reduce Demand

Most illegal ivory is sold in China, where many consumers are unaware of its origins. The conservancy is mobilizing some of the country's most influential leaders to educate consumers and clean up the online marketplace.

4. Gain Local Support

The conservancy works with partners to ensure that elephants are worth more alive to the people living alongside them, such as by providing tourism-related job opportunities.

This World Elephant Day, you can Join the Herd here and commit to ensuring a brighter future for elephants in Africa.

waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

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