When you visit the elephants of Hope, Maine you don't just see elephants, you learn about them. So, I asked some people after their tours why they think elephants should stick around. Here are just some of the reasons:
1. "They are highly evolved to overcome all predators but us."
2. "Elephants are special and have amazing trunks."
3. "For the Elephant's families and friends (other elephants) :)"
4. "I'd want to be preserved (they're empathetic)."
5. "Because they are a keystone species."
6. "For the future, so we have one."
7. "Cancer Research."
The tour at Hope also gives insight into how studying elephants may lead us to a cure for cancer. According to Peto's Paradox, if every cell in a living being has some chance of becoming cancerous, large, long-living organisms should have a higher rate of cancer. Specifically, elephants should have a 96% risk for cancer but in reality they only have a 3% risk. Keeping them around may help us understand and beat cancer.
8. "...plus they're adorable."
9. "Elephants are beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, wonderful animals."
10. "Female elephants are a good model for how human mothers should raise their children."
11. "They are beautiful, intelligent, and silly."
12. "1. I believe that it is not up to me to decide whether or not they should persist. They have that right on their own. 2. They are majestic and wise creatures and not our slaves."
13. "They are amazing mothers, aunts and sisters."
14. "Elephants need to be here to teach humans the true meaning of humanity, companionship, trust and friendship...we can learn from them..."
15. "They are strong, gentle, and sensitive. Everything I look for in a man. :)"
16. "Because they are giant, majestic, and goof balls. They're like people!"
17. "Their eyes."
18. "They bring joy, peace, education, and awareness to humanity and the earth."
19. "A loss of elephants would be a brain drain!"
20. "By knocking down trees, they maintain the grasslands in Africa!"
21. "Because they're sentient."
22. "They are totally unique and incredibly important to biodiversity (AND WAY COOL!)"
23. "Elephants are amazing for infinite reasons! And they are essential for infinite reasons! Please help save them!"
To visit, learn, or donate to the elephants visit Hope Elephants.
All photos by Chelsea Marshall for BuzzFeed