Hard to believe we’re celebrating Animal Action Week’s twentieth anniversary

Today marks the start of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Animal Action Week and the 20th birthday of IFAW’s global Animal Action educational program, which reaches more than 5,000,000 young people, their parents and educators worldwide each year.  

Launched in partnership with actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, this year’s outreach campaign focuses on elephants, the largest land animals on our planet and - as I was reminded just recently - among the most engaging.

While in northern Botswana with our elephant program team, I had the privilege of going out on the Chobe river. Here we came across a wondrous sight: a family of elephants swimming across the river - up and down, up and down - in an elephant version of the butterfly stroke – with water buffalo, water buck, hippos and crocs surrounding us on all sides.

Sadly, the news about elephant families in many other places is far less buoyant. In the past year alone, an estimated 3,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa for their ivory – many leaving behind young orphans with little chance of surviving on their own. And the killing continues to escalate.

We believe that education, from the youngest ages, is critical in our mission to secure a better future for elephants. That’s why we’re providing teachers and parents in more than 18 countries worldwide with Animal Action educational resources in eight languages at no cost - like the new Big Trunks, Tiny Tales  for young children and Elephants, Never Forget for older students.

And that’s why we are thrilled to join forces again with Leonardo DiCaprio as global ambassador for our Animal Action education program. His commitment to advocating for the wellbeing of elephants is vital in our efforts to educate and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

With his support, we’ve mobilized 50,000 students around the world over the past year to sign pledges, create art, and write letters to help advance IFAW’s work protecting elephants from poaching, habitat loss and other threats.  

Take a moment to watch this video for a glimpse into our Animal Action education programs, special events and youth engagement activities in 18+ countries around the globe.

And happy anniversary Animal Action Week!


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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project