While Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22, it doesn't mean that we can't celebrate these gentle giants every other day of the year.
Elephants are some of the smartest and most compassionate animals on the planet, and they're always a big draw at the zoo — but how much do you really know about them?
From their five-inch eyelashes to their 22-month pregnancies, here are 18 things you probably never knew about elephants.
Elephants are an important cultural icon in Asia. According to Hindu mythology, the gods (deva) and the demons (asura) churned the oceans in a search for the elixir of life so that they would become immortal. As they did so, nine jewels surfaced, one of which was the elephant. In Hinduism, the powerful deity honored before all sacred rituals is the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha, who is also called the Remover of Obstacles.
We have refined our own stance on elephant tourism over the last few years, following discussions with NGOs and tour operators, and as a result we do not promote any sanctuaries which offer elephant rides, performances or other types of unnatural behaviour designed for tourists. We only promote trips to legitimate sanctuaries and rescue centres for elephants that cannot be returned to the wild.