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World Elephant Day Shines Spotlight On Shocking Illegal Poaching, Ivory Trade

'Better care' of elephants is needed worldwide.

12/08/2017 10:40 AM AEST | Updated 12/08/2017 1:42 PM AEST

It's the day to celebrate one of the planet's most beloved, and biggest, animals.

That's right. Saturday marks official World Elephant Day, which is aimed at getting people across the globe to express concern, share knowledge and support solutions "for the better care of captive and wild elephants".

The day is important, organisers say, because Asian and African elephants face an increasing threat from poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity.

"Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants ... are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organisations are focusing on around the world," World Elephant Day said on its website.

According to conservation groups, there are around 400,000 elephants left in the world, with one lost every 15 minutes to poachers.

Elephant numbers have dropped by 62 percent over the last decade, and there are fears they could be extinct by the end of the next decade.

In Sydney, Taronga Zoo's Lucy Melo said Asian Elephant calf Jai Dee, born earlier this year, was doing well.

"He's already packed on over 100 kilos," Melo told Channel Nine on Saturday.

"He's now currently sitting at about 240 kilos and he's gaining about one or two kilos every single day."

Melo said Jai Dee was still mostly drinking mother's milk but was also figuring out how to use his trunk to eat and drink by himself.

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