Zimbabwe has sent about 30 young elephants to China where they will be held in zoos, according to Humane Society International.
The elephants, estimated to be 2 to 6 years old, were separated from maternal herds and held at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park for nearly a year before being flown out this week, the organization said
“We are left feeling outraged and heartbroken at this news that the Zimbabwean authorities have shipped these poor baby elephants out of the country,” said Audrey Delsink, wildlife director of Humane Society International.
“Condemning these elephants to a life of captivity in Chinese zoos is a tragedy. We and others have been working for months to try and stop these elephants from being shipped because all that awaits them in China is a life of monotonous deprivation in zoos or circuses.
“As an elephant biologist used to observing these magnificent animals in their natural wild habitat, I am devastated by this outcome.”
The Humane Society released a video and photos which it said shows the small elephants a week ago being held in a fenced in area at Hwange National Park.
The Zimbabwe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had tried to get a court order to get access to the young elephants, to determine if they were receiving proper care.
Zimbabwe has one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. It seeks to be allowed to hunt and export more of them to ease pressure on the animals’ habitat and raise badly needed money for conservation.
At least 55 elephants have starved to death in the past two months in Hwange as drought dries up water sources and overcrowding results in massive loss of habitat. The park has a carrying capacity of 15,000 elephants but is home to more than 50,000, authorities say.
A Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman said the country “is currently capturing and trans-locating live animals to approved appropriate and acceptable destinations within and outside the country.”
Zimbabwe has previously exported elephants and other animals to China, Dubai, Europe and the United States to raise money for conservation, Farawo said. It is not known how much money Zimbabwe receives for the animals.
Sourced from African News
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Author: Moses Echodu
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