Govt admits selling baby elephants

Government has admitted that it is selling baby elephants to China as a way of solving the problem of overpopulation.


Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi ,who is the acting environment minister, made the confession before tourism players who included foreign tourists and diplomats on Wednesday.

“Clearly, it is not a secret that our habitat is not designed to carry too many elephants. We have an overpopulation of elephants and there are various methods of dealing with (the problem). You can sell them with the permission and compliance of the international treaties to other countries that do offer appropriate habitats,” said Mzembi.

His admission contradicts an earlier statement by made statement by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Prince Mupazviriho in December when he denied Zimbabwe was selling baby elephants to China.

Last year conservationists led by the Zimbabwe Conservations Taskforce director, Johnny Rodrigues, garnered more than 10, 000 signatures for a petition against the sale.

Rodrigues said his organisation received “very disturbing” reports of animals being captured in the Hwange National Park for export to China.

International media reports say that more than 30 wild baby elephants are in bomas in Hwange National Park awaiting clearance for transport over land to Maputo and shipment to China.

The probable transit destination is Shanghai Wild Animal Park in China, though the final destination is possibly wealthy private collectors.

In the export of African wildlife, crooked deals and violations abound and Zimbabwe is high on the list of offenders, with powerful Zanu (PF) officials allegedly involved.

Three years ago Zimbabwe shipped four under-aged elephants to China via Emirates Airlines but two died soon after arrival. Zimbabwean elephants are being hunted for ivory tusks.

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