By Tara D.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), which is an animal activist group, has revealed a very disturbing bit of news. The country has apparently captured baby elephants by the dozen and plans to make a substantial amount of money from them. It has been learned by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force that the plan after capturing the baby elephants is to sell them overseas. This knowledge has angered this task force and many other conservation groups. They are very concerned with the policies surrounding the country’s live animal trade.
The ZCTF reports that roughly three dozen baby elephants, 10 sable antelopes, and 10 lions have been captured in the interest of filling an alleged order for the animals from China. All of the elephants are five years old and under, which is the most vulnerable period both physically and emotionally for the elephants. It is the worst time for elephants at this age to become separated from their mothers.
Zimbabwe officials have admitted to the capturing of the animals, but claim that the destination country is not China, but the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates has confirmed their plan to import elephants, but they say that the elephants being imported there do not come from the wild. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Water, and Climate, Saviour Kasukuwere, claims that there has been no exportation authorization to China of elephants.
There have been allegations by the elephant group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature that a Guangzhou, China zoo has intent for the importation of at least 50 elephants. Another report in a South African newspaper, the Times, says that China has requested at least a hundred baby elephants if not more.
According to David Coltart, a former minister of Zimbabwe and a senator for the political party called the Movement for Democratic Change, there is no surprise at all about these reports as he says the government is corrupt and will do anything for money. A larger problem seen is the lack of enforcement by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), although this is only a treaty, not a force of law.
Many activists assert that zoos around the world, with China being some of the worst, and circuses are horror shows for elephants, where they are often mistreated, lonely, and are generally better off having been killed than spending their lives in zoos and circuses.