Charity begins somewhere. With elephants, maybe.

The saying, “Charity begins at home,” is probably most often used to rationalize selfishness. At least, that’s been my most common use of it.

I’ve given the usual, I suppose. Used goods and clothing, and some cash—but less than many. And when it comes to requests for donations and petition-signing for the benefit of animals, well, my knee-jerk thought has always been, “Geeze, let’s take care of starving humans first, shall we?” I mean, charity begins at home.

Then my wife showed me a photo of a 60-year-old elephant—an Indian elephant, I think—whose ribcage was rippled and spine crumpled by years of carrying one of those pagodas, giving rides to thousands of knee-jerks who I presume all believe that charity begins at home.

And that got to me. Even now, I can barely think of it.

In researching this post, I found all kinds of photos of abused elephants. I can’t bear to show any of them. So here’s a healthy female African elephant, from Wikipedia Commons:

African elephant

A female African bush elephant
in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
(Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim).

If something is not done to protect these creatures, in a decade or so, that’s all that will be left of them: photos. For the sake of ivory, their numbers are being decimated (literally) annually. And it’s time we stop accepting the idea that their presence in cages or circuses is acceptable.

August 12, 2013, is World Elephant Day. There’a a lot of great information at the World Elephant Day website, including a petition you can sign to show your support.

On October 4, 2013, there will be a March for Elephants in many major cities around the world. Many (but not all) of these marches are sponsored by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Below are some of the countries and cities where marches are currently planned. Check back with the Give a Shit About Elephants Facebook page for the latest news on the marches.









South Africa
Cape Town

United States
Boise, Idaho
Boulder, Colorado
Columbus, Ohio
Greensboro, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Florida
Los Angeles, California
New York, New York
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
San Francisco, California
Washington, DC

Although many well-known figures have recently come out in support of protecting elephants—people like Barack Obama, Paul McCartney (and McCartney’s letter to the Philippine’s president regarding the elephant Mali), Oprah (especially her interview with David Letterman), Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Ming (one of China’s most widely known public figures), Kristin Davis, and others—have brought the issue into the public eye, the situation is dire. The Huffington Post had an article today titled, “Is This Year’s World Elephant Day the Last Chance for Elephants?

And the conclusion: it might be.

So the fact is, charity has to begin somewhere. For me, it’s going to be with the elephants. So I’ll sign the petitions, follow the PETA news in India and the UK or wherever it matters, and try to get my wife to spare me the worst of the pictures (and she has more trouble with them than I do). I will point out that a nice selection of gifts is offered at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.


About Keith Croes

Nice to meet you. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted on August 12, 2013, in Animal rights, Autobiographical, Ecology, Philanthropy, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very effective. Well said.

    I can imagine what wisdom may have been meant by “charity begins at home” but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used any way other than as you described.


  2. Thank you so much! Thanks too for the pingback. I look forward to reading more articles on your blog. Have a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good article! Happy to know there is an elephant sanctuary in the US 🙂


  1. Pingback: Happy World Elephant Day! xo We cannot afford to lose Elephants. |

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