Yesterday saw the export of over 30 wild-caught baby elephants from Zimbabwe, believed to be destined for Chinese zoos. This comes after 37 elephants were held within Hwange National Park capture unit for almost an entire year, it is said that 32 elephants were transported with 5 of them being rejected due to poor health.
The elephant were loaded into crates and transported in extreme temperatures – indicating a lack of concern for their welfare.
Zimbabwe National SPCA has been campaigning against this since the elephants were initially captured, inspecting the elephants when they were initially placed into the capture unit in late 2018 and reporting the animals were severely stressed. On October 15th three ZNSPCA inspectors and an experienced wildlife vet were denied entry into the holding area and 6 further attempts to gain entry were denied despite this being an obstruction of the Zimbabwe Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. *
Zimbabwean activists have desperately tried to prevent the move of the baby elephants. Earlier in the year, Advocates4Earth (previously known as The People and Earth Solidarity Law Network) launched legal action regarding the capture and export of wild-caught infant elephants. They recently demanding the government release the details of the export deal and also contacted lawyers representing Zimbabwe National Parks Authority warning that exporting the elephants before the case has gone before a judge could be in contempt of court.
The move of the elephants and their future severely lacks transparency and accountability. A full independent investigation should be launched into this cruel trade. Evidence shows that since 2012, over 100 infant elephants have been exported and these elephants have been resold in China to unknown destinations and are now performing in circuses and zoos.
These baby elephants have been condemned to a life in captivity, a life of suffering. How is this still happening? It is devastating. Elephants are social animals, in the wild elephant infants are completely dependent on their mothers for around 5 years and build incredibly strong family bonds.
Please sign this petition calling on the CITES Secretary General Ivonne Higuero for a full independent investigation into China’s dark trade in Live Elephants:
Calling on the CITES Secretary-General to investigate China’s dark trade in elephants
* The act specifically grants an appointed ZNSPCA inspector right of entry upon any premises where he has reasonable grounds to believe that such entry is necessary for the prevention, investigation or detection of any offence in terms of this act.
Tread lightly on this Earth,