World Elephant Day was created to honor elephants, to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival. It was established in 2012 by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and Patricia Sims - the President and Founder or the World Elephant Society.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the African Forest Elephant as "Critically Endangered", and the African savanna elephant as "Endangered". This follows population declines over several decades due to poaching for ivory and loss of habitat. According to recent assessments, over a period of 31 years, the number of African forest elephants fell by over 86% and the population of African savanna elephants decreased by over 60% in the last 50 years.