Zimbabwe Minister Defends export of baby elephants

Zimbabwe Minister Defends export of baby elephants

The acting Environment Minister, Walter Mzembi has stated that Zimbabwe will not be deterred from exporting 62 baby elephants to China, France and the United Arab Emirates. The Minister said that Zimbabwe has in excess of 80 000 elephants but only has the capacity for 42 000.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force does not believe this figure is accurate because a proper count hasn’t been done since 1997 so no one knows exactly how many elephants there are. A count was done in Hwange National Park late last year which resulted in a figure of 22 000 elephants however, the elephants do not live there all year round. Hwange has the highest concentration in the country.

Zimbabwe Minister Defends export of baby elephants

Mr Mzembi stated that the reason for the worldwide outcry about the exportation is political and that the people who are objecting don’t want Zimbabwe to make any money. Really? I think it is fair to say the rest of the rest doesn’t give a toss about Zimbabwe and is certainly not bothered if they make money. However, there is meek objection to Government officials making vast fortunes by raping and pillaging whats left of the country.

The Zimbabwe Government recently received a letter from 31 tourist agents in America who stated that if the exportation goes ahead, they will not be bringing any tourists to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Minister Defends export of baby elephants

In a new survey released last month, it showed that the elephant population has decreased by more than 40% in the Zambezi Valley, Matusadona and Chizarira areas. The survey is a partnership between the Great Elephant Census, a Mr Paul Gardner Allen Project and the Parks and Wildlife Authority.

A full professional count needs to be done. Every year in the hot season, elephants come into Zimbabwe from Botswana and Zambia to look for water in Hwange National Park. Therefore, all the elephants in the park are not Zimbabwean elephants and do not live there all year round. However, it appears that the counts are always done in the hot season.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force pointed out that the count should be done in winter and simultaneous counts should be done in the surrounding countries of Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia. We would then get a much clearer indication of the true elephant population in the whole region.

Naturally Elephants and other wildlife do not respect western borders and go through passport control etc.

From reports, a total of 27 baby elephants would be sent to China, while 15 would be sent to the UAE and a further 20 would be taken to France, with each buyer paying a £26,000 for each animal.

Speaking to the press and all other ignorant and stupid people, Mzembi said: “Our habitat is not designed to carry too many elephants that are in its environment. We have an over-population of elephants.”

The Zimbabwe government announced in December 2014 that due to an ever expanding population of elephants, (despite no official count since 1997) it would begin a programme of exportation of elephants from Hwange National Park to try and control the numbers of elephants.

There has be no mention of what would happen to the money form the sale of all the elephants and other wildlife to foreign buyers?

Zimbabwe Minister Defends export of baby elephants

Both the government and Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife authorities said that the step had to be made to ensure the country’s elephant population does not grow any bigger citing that the elephants where consuming and destroying the environment and food sources for other species.

The truth of the situation is that the exportation has involved young animals being violently taken away from their mothers and then exported in tough conditions to unfamiliar surroundings.

In a statement on Peta’s website they said: “These innocent and terrified babies have been traumatically stolen from their families and their natural habitat, only to be sold to the highest bidder and sentenced to a life of abuse and captivity.”

Going back to 2012, 4 baby elephants died after being shipped to China from Zimbabwe, which prompted the US and European Union to sign a petition against the exportation of baby elephants from Zimbabwe.

As with any petitions and statements, this has been ignored by the Zimbabwe Government who has argued that they are currently suffering from a conservation funding crisis and that the funds appropriated from the sale of the elephants would be used to help with conservation efforts. There is no proof the funds have gone in this direction?

Speaking on 6 January, Water and Climate Committee chairperson, Anastacia Ndlovu, , said: “The selling off of live elephants will enable the wildlife authority to raise enough funds to protect the jumbos and other wildlife.”

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Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.

China Stealing Zimbabwe’s Baby Elephants

Baby elephants are being abducted from Zimbabwe’s National Park, smuggled to Chinese zoos

Most of the young elephants will probably die on the boat ride over to China

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says that the baby elephants “quite likely won’t survive the trip.” And even if they do, Chinese zoos aren’t exactly known for treating animals very well.

Poachers are obviously a huge problem, however the smuggling of live animals has also reached a crisis point, in part because some countries seem to care very little about the provenance of wildlife. Money and bribes seem a better way forward or else countries simply don’t have the means or the will to enforce wildlife protection laws. A very sad example of this comes from Zimbabwe.

The Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is supposed to be a protected area for wildlife, but the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a non-profit wildlife conservation group, has issued a quite disturbing report claiming that animals in the National Park are being abducted to be shipped to Chinese zoos (which have been known to put some of their animals on the menu and to let rare Siberian tigers starve to death when the money got tight)

Now eye-witness reports from tourists visiting the park are coming in about blatant live captures of the baby elephants. The youngsters are then taken to Mtshibi Capture Unit about 7 kilometres from Hwange’s Main Camp.

From reports, 34 baby elephants between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 years old, 7 lions and about 10 sable antelope have been captured in order to be shipped out but investigators were not allowed to get close enough to the capture unit to take photographs as there is very high security.

It is expected that the animals will be shipped by container trucks to Maputo in Mozambique where they will be transferred to a livestock freighter and sent on an arduous sea passage to China.


In further reports, one of the 36 elephants captured by the Zimbabwean government in early December has already died, according to a nonprofit organization monitoring the situation.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force reported the news on its Facebook page, adding that the animal’s “meat was shared out between the people” at the stockade where the elephant was being kept.

Animal rights groups have already begun to take a stand. In a letter to Zimbabwe’s environmental minister (Saviour Kasukuwere) Adam M. Roberts, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, had warned that the stolen animals were likely to experience extreme stress, an increased risk of disease and early death.

Removing these animals from the wild also severs social ties and has “serious implications for both animal welfare and conservation,” Roberts noted in the letter.

Officials with the Zimbabwean government took the 36 elephants — originally thought to be 34 (Above) from Hwange National Park in December and while they are apparently destined for Chinese Zoos, Kasukuwere told the Telegraph that they would be sent to the United Arab Emirates, and that such roundups happen “from time to time.”

Elephants are prone to obesity and infertility when kept captive and also suffer  mental anguish. Roberts cited a 2008 study of 77 captive elephants in the U.K. Though keepers were “highly skilled at detecting health issues such as injuries and disease,” 3 quarters of the elephants were overweight and half showed strange behavior like repetitive pacing around their enclosure.

Regardless of whether the elephants will end up in China or the UAE, when it comes to the wildlife trade, the reputation of both countries is, broadly speaking, much different than the U.K.’s.

Private owners in the UAE collect lions as a status symbol while Chinese demand for ivory is putting unsustainable pressure on elephants in the wild. It is believed that of four live elephant calves shipped to China from Zimbabwe in 2012, only one is believed to still be alive.