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Elephants Under Siege: In the Wild and in Captivity

Whether they're killed by poachers who hack off their tusks for the illegal ivory trade; kept in chains and struck with bullhooks to make them "perform" in a circus; or forced to languish for years in a small zoo enclosure, deprived of companionship and stimulation, elephants throughout the world are suffering.

The same ivory trade that in recent decades took half of Africa's elephants keeps them in a state of perpetual peril continentwide. Individual elephants across the United States suffer in captivity. Born Free USA is working tirelessly for elephants everywhere. And you can help!

The US Government Tackles Elephant Poaching

The Obama Administration has made the elephant poaching crisis a top priority. Spurred on by the Administration's mandate, the U.S. government has made significant strides toward understanding the breadth of the problem and addressing the U.S. commercialization of ivory products.

Follow the timeline of our US government's battle against ivory.

Six Actions You Can Take for Elephants

1. Sign our elephant pledge.

You will vow to avoid seeing an elephant perform in any sort of "entertainment" setting, such as at a circus, in a parade, for rides on their backs, or even in magical tricks or in any context involving people paying to see them forced to do something.

2. Take action for elephants.

Born Free USA works with legislators at local, state and national levels to protect elephants in the wild and in captivity. If you haven't done so already, join our Action Alert team and we'll let you know when there is some specific action you can take to help elephants. Also today, be sure to check whether we have any active alerts on animals in entertainment and animals in the circus.

3. Help performing elephants.

To pave the way for a more compassionate tomorrow, reach out to the young people in your life with our Child's Circus Brochure. This brochure is "from a kid to a kid," and contains facts about elephants in the wild vs. elephants in the circus, and is told in kid-friendly terms. Download one now or order a 25-pack to pass them around at school.

4. Help zoo elephants.

Take your camera (photographic and/or video) and our Elephant Check form (a downloadable PDF) and get to know your nearest captive elephant. Then share your findings via e-mail or by mailing them to us at Elephant Check, Born Free USA, P.O. Box 22505, Sacramento, CA 95822. (To help other zoo animals, participate in our Zoo Check program. Record what you find and share the information by sending in your hand-written form or submit the information online with your photos to help us find ways to better help elephants and other animals in captivity.)

5. Make a donation to Born Free USA.

By giving to our Elephant Defense Fund, you are taking a stand and making a crucial difference as we work toward a day when elephants are no longer exploited.

6. Help wild elephants.

Promise yourself that you will never buy anything made from ivory. And stay current on what Born Free USA is doing to combat the international trade in elephant parts by regularly checking our CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) webpage. CITES meetings are every three years. For a more in-depth analysis, check out the Born Free Foundation's Bloody Ivory site.