Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Controversy over Zimbabwe’s elephant sale

A herd of African elephants drinking at a muddy waterhole, Hwange national Park, Zimbabwe A herd of African elephants drinking at a muddy waterhole, Hwange national Park, Zimbabwe Artush
21 Jan
2015
Sixty-two elephant calves are set to be exported from Zimbabwe to countries across the world, the country’s authorities have confirmed, causing outrage amongst conservationists

Each elephant calf is expected to be sold for up to $60,000 (£39,400), with Geoffreys Matipano, the director for conservation at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authorities, quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the money would go towards funding running costs at Hwange National Park (where many of the calves where sourced). Zimbabwe’s tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, has defended the plan, citing it as a solution to the country’s current ‘over-population’ of elephants, and accusing dissenters of jealousy over the deal. The exact number of elephants residing in Zimbabwe is disputed, with recent aerial surveys recording a population of 58,000, whereas the government’s official statistics place that number nearer the 70,000 mark. 

The calves, allegedly between two-and-a-half and five years old, are still at an age where separation from their mothers is known to be both physically and psychologically damaging. One calf is already known to have died during this ordeal, with another subsequently sourced as its replacement. While trade in elephants is not illegal in Zimbabwe under the CITES agreement to protect wildlife – it merely has to be properly regulated – there have been widespread protests over the plan, with conservationists fearing that even if they survive the journey, the animal’s quality of life will be severely diminished. A petition has also been set up calling on the Zimbabwean government to put an immediate stop to the plan.

While the government has remained silent over the exact purchasers of each animal, it has confirmed that the animals will be shipped to the United Arab Emirates, France and China. ‘You can’t take these animals out of Africa and send them to these inhumane areas where they’ve got no good track records,’ Johnny Rodrigues, of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) stated.

ZCTF has previous success in this field – in 2012 it managed to return five Zimbabwean elephants marked for export to China and returned them to the wild. Of the four trades it was unable to stop, the organisation claims that only one of those elephants remains alive.

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Geophoto

The prestigious photography awards to go on display in some…

Tectonics

The discovery of a slow-motion earthquake near Istanbul, which took…

Oceans

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, which took place off…

Climate

Marco Magrini discovers that hydrogen is back, but hopefully not…

Wildlife

 A ten-year analysis of chimpanzees has revealed that the presence…

Wildlife

The return of the pine marten to UK forests has…

Energy

A project in Orkney is converting excess wind energy into…

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…

Wildlife

An innovative project to utilise Laos’ elephant experts in service…

Polar

Despite common belief that Antarctica is vastly uninhabited, humans are…

Wildlife

Javan rhinos survived the recent Krakatoa tsunami, but the species…

Energy

As the world turns away from fossil fuels, one question…

Geophoto

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2018…

Climate

New legislation in Florida aims to solve various environmental issues,…