Baby elephants from Zimbabwe headed for Chinese zoos!

Baby elephants from Zimbabwe headed for Chinese zoos!
Published: 07 November 2016 (2347 Views)
Thirty seven baby elephants forcibly taken from their mothers in the wild in Hwange National Park  are about to be flown to Chinese zoos, despite an international outcry against previous exports  A number of the baby elephants from similar shipments in 2012 and 2015 died shortly after arrival and two of the elephants now awaiting shipment have already died.

In 2012, only four elephants of the eight survived the journey and another three died shortly after arriving in China, leaving only one lonely survivor. In September 2015, National Geographic reported that elephants from the latest shipment in China were being mistreated and were slipping into poor health.

Export of elephants is sanctioned under CITES regulations, as long as trade in individual animals doesn't threaten the long-term survival of the species.



"Past elephants from Zimbabwe sent to Chinese zoos have died or languished in deplorable conditions," says Iris Ho, Program Manager for Wildlife at Humane Society International, "Sending wild African elephants to zoos in China is either a literal death sentence or akin to life in prison to these animals."

According to Johnny Rodrigues from the Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force two of the recently captured baby elephants have already died from starvation and thirst due to neglect.

China apparently has 'ordered' 200 juvenile elephants to be captured for a variety of zoos and safari parks across the country over the next five years.

"If these elephant captures and pending transfers to China are confirmed," explains Ho, "there is highly likely diplomatic consideration involved in the Chinese authorities' approval of the import." She pointed to the Chinese president's trip to Zimbabwe last year and the wildlife ‘conservation' deal that they inked.

Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said then that China would continue to help Zimbabwe improve its capability to fund its protection for its wildlife by donating equipment, conducting exchanges of experience, and buying its wild animals. It's understood that the capture equipment for the young elephants was donated by China.

According to the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group, there are currently around 46,000 elephants in Hwange National Park and another 6,000 in adjacent communal and safari areas. If these numbers are true, it is hard to argue that the removals would have a significant impact on numbers but as elephant biologist, Dr. Keith Lindsay, states: "The bigger impact is on elephant behaviour."

"Taking calves away from the midst of families would be very disruptive and I would not be surprised if the adult females from the affected families were very frightened and angry about people on foot or even in vehicles," he says. "If captures occurred in communal areas, the disruption could increase the incidence of Human-Elephant Conflict and, if they were in the National Park, they could make it harder for tourist operators to get close to elephants."

Lindsay, however, says these are only the practical considerations. "The real issue is the inhumanity of stealing offspring from mothers. We know elephants grieve for companions, including calves, who have died and the effect must be similar in the case of kidnappings," he says.

David Neale, Animal Welfare Director at Animals Asia, says information from within China suggests that both Shanghai Wild Animal Park and Yunnan Safari Park are preparing for the arrival of the latest batch of elephants with Shanghai getting 17 elephants, Yunnan 15 elephants. According to Neale, there are a dozen or so other possible zoos earmarked to receive the elephants.

CITES permits the sale of live elephants only if "an export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export" (in Zimbabwe's case this is the NSPCA) and may be issued "only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species." The article goes on to state that: "In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment."

The senior inspector of Zimbabwe's NSPCA, Glynis Vaughn, has already made a trip to China and has departed for second visit to sign-off on the condition of the new facilities. Given the acceptance of previous batches it is unlikely that the transportation will be prevented. Her findings will likely be kept out of the public eye as will the No-Detriment Finding (NDF) report.

Wildlife biologist for the Animal Welfare Institute, DJ Schubert, argues this "is one of the problems with the entire NDF process is there's a fundamental lack of transparency in that very few countries make their NDFs easily accessible to the public."

Zimbabwe is one of them. Section 2 in the text for the Zimbabwean Freedom of Information Act says: "Citizens of Zimbabwe and anyone else have no rights to obtain information about the Government of Zimbabwe."

The elephants in the capture facility near Hwange's Main Camp are strictly off limits to both the public and researchers in the park and there are rumours that some may be moved to a remote location in Chizarira National Park to further conceal the actions surrounding their imminent transportation.

Other concerned voices in Zimbabwe are worried about their own safety if they dare speak out against the authorities. The sentiment is that the capture is being driven from the Presidents Office and that anyone inside Zimbabwe cannot criticize the process without losing their livelihoods, if not their lives. "This is big money and a very vindictive group of people running this operation," said one source.

It is reported that a live elephant, depending on age and size, can sell between US $40,000 and US $60,000 per individual.


- www.conservationaction.co.za

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

PDZ bemoans govt's misplaced priorities by giving chiefs expensive cars

by Staff Reporter | 19 January 2018 | 259 Views

Mnangagwa's regional trips are strategic, critical and promotes regional integration

by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 19 January 2018 | 168 Views

'Aliens' face challenges in registering to vote in Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 111 Views

Roy Bennett 'suffered a lot in his attempt to build a new Zimbabwe'

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 189 Views

Who is the Representative of God on Earth?

by Tendai Tagarira | 19 January 2018 | 103 Views

Champions at home and abroad gone too soon

by Jacob Mafume | 19 January 2018 | 93 Views

Former deputy minister of education 'Tapela' dies

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 206 Views

WATCH: Mugabe 'forgot' Mnangagwa firing

by BBc | 19 January 2018 | 190 Views

Obert Gutu banned from MDC-T HQ by the Vanguard

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 166 Views

Mnangagwa's message to Davos

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 103 Views

MDC must lead by example in leadership transfer - Mliswa

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 123 Views

Heal Zimbabwe riled by increase in human rights violations

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 67 Views

Free and fair elections is a myth

by Zondiwe Gumede | 19 January 2018 | 110 Views

Why women keep out of political participation and activism in Zimbabwe

by Makho Precious Moyo | 19 January 2018 | 82 Views

About Marriage (Part 1)

by Belinda Chowa | 19 January 2018 | 106 Views

WATCH: Mnangagwa discusses how he hopes to drive economic growth

by Bloomberg | 19 January 2018 | 113 Views

MDC must urgently put its house in order

by Justice Benjamin Paradza | 19 January 2018 | 101 Views

MDC mourns the passing of the struggle veteran Roy Bennett

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 160 Views

MDC-T provincial chairpersons exonerate Khupe

by Tererai Danga | 19 January 2018 | 166 Views

Gukurahundi is not a bygone - Zapu

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 130 Views

'Arrest Obert Mpofu or else chaos will reign'

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 545 Views

Mnangagwa felt sorry for Grace Mugabe

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 466 Views

Axed Bosso players demand outstanding dues

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 129 Views

Varsity student shoplifts perfumes

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 171 Views

Stealing from the dead

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 115 Views

Bulawayo's Luthuli Dlamini takes City to the world

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 137 Views

Sex with late uncle's wife torments man

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 196 Views

Lying ben 10 dumped

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 118 Views

Mudzingwa opens up on Bosso exit

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 114 Views

Teacher forces 'lover' pupil to abort

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 94 Views

Man dumps wife for married girlfriend

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 168 Views

Baboon attack splits family

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 99 Views

R10 stabbing sends man to ICU

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 63 Views

Knives drawn as pastors fight in church

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 116 Views

Typhoid case in Nkayi linked to Mbare

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 65 Views

Woman feasts on own blood

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 83 Views