The Elephant in Society

Elephant

The Elephant is a beloved animal that has played more roles in society than many people seem to realize. Whether they are represented in toys, types of plants, parts in movies or even have a disease named after them, elephants are rather prevalent in today’s world.

Children and adults of all ages have come across an elephant at some point in their lives. They are a favored zoo attraction and make stunning performers in traveling circus productions. A percentage of the population may have even had the luxury of riding on one’s back. The actual presence of a live elephant is truly a majestic sight to behold. From the tiniest of calves to the grandest of bulls, the regality of an elephant is breathtaking.

Toy manufacturers have taken to crafting a multitude of elephant-inspired toys for children all around the world. Many children may recall a certain stuffed elephant that they had a specific name for and would cuddle up tight with when it was time for bed. Others may have acquired a smaller plastic version of this magnificent creature that could have been included with an African jungle toy set they bought from their neighborhood Wal-Mart.

Elephants have made their mark in society through entertainment media as well. Disney films such as The Lion King, Tarzan and The Jungle Book depict cartoon elephants that play memorable parts in the films. The stern Colonel Hathi from The Jungle Book left a stroke of discipline in the young ones that remember the story of Mowgli and his adventures in the jungles of India. The humorous Tantor from Tarzan will remain with viewers as his comical fears stroke a chord of familiarity within each of them.

Due to their signature features, elephants have had the name of their species used to address certain objects or conditions in society. The elephant ear plant for example received its name because of the widespread and fan-like shape of its leaves, which very closely resemble the same features as an actual elephant’s ear. The disease, elephantiasis had its name originate from the elephant as well due to the fact that the terrible disease causes parts of one’s body to swell to abnormally large and seemingly unnatural sizes. The immense size reflected in the effects of elephantiasis is comparable in shape and sometimes size of an elephant’s limbs.

There are those that would dare to hunt and kill these beautiful creatures simply for sport known as poachers. The ivory of an elephant’s tusks is an extremely desirable good to some individuals and those same people would risk driving the elephant to the brink of extinction simply for their own selfish desires. The two African countries Botswana and Zambia have just recently banned the sport of trophy hunting. Thanks to the kind-hearted efforts of these countries, it is anticipated that an approximate 500 more elephants will live this year than if the sport had not been banned.

The role that the majestic elephant plays in society can vary depending on each individual. An elephant can be one of the fondest memories one has of visiting the zoo with their grandmother. Another person can find solace in their stuffed childhood friend and others may simply turn on the television and bask in their wonder.

Opinion by Cody Collier

Sources:
CNN
Daily Mail

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