We are celebrating Party for the Planet, a movement to take action for the planet. Each week leading up to Endangered Species Day (May 20), we will be sharing more about elephants’ vital role in the ecosystem, how The Elephant Sanctuary is doing its part, and how you can be a part of helping your community too. We challenge you to connect with your natural habitat and practice conservation in your neighborhood with interactive activities week to week!
Elephants are herbivores, which means they are exclusively plant-eaters, and to power their large bodies, they consume 200-300 pounds of food each day. They rely heavily on their environment to find their next meal, consuming grass, bushes, fruits, and even entire trees. Elephants certainly do not waste, as they eat most parts of plants and trees, including the stems, leaves, and bark. To reach the tops of trees, they will use their muscles and tusks to push them over and eat the areas of the tree that they were not able to reach. The tree will then be eaten by other animals or broken down by the environment, which leaves nutrient-rich soil in its place for native grasses to grow and thrive. This is especially important for other animals in their ecosystem as well, who get to dine on the new grasses that they produce, or for predator animals that will use the tall grasses as a place to hide while hunting prey.
How is The Elephant Sanctuary doing its part? At The Sanctuary, we plant native grasses and plants that will promote pollination in our local community. At The Elephant Discovery Center, we have a native plant garden watered by our water catchment system that is entirely sustainable with little maintenance.
How can you be like an elephant? Using beautiful trees for aesthetic purposes is not always the best for the environment. We encourage you to do some research; plant trees and vegetation that are local to your ecosystem and that help to promote local pollinators. This is also important so as not to bring invasive plant species into the ecosystems we reside in.
The National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat program helps to expand native habitats and restore wildlife populations. You can turn your yard, balcony container garden, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat and make a lasting difference for wildlife! Learn more about how to certify your space here.
Check back next week for another tip on how to Party for the Planet with The Sanctuary!