Wildlife & Biodiversity

Zimbabwe sold 97 sub-adult elephants to China, UAE

Cash-strapped southern African country earned $2.7 million

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 14 May 2019
African Bush Elephants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
African Bush Elephants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Photo: Getty Images African Bush Elephants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

Zimbabwe has revealed that it made $ 2.7 million by selling 97 live elephants to China and the United Arab Emirates between 2012 and 2018, media reports have said.

Zimbabwe’s minister for environment, tourism and hospitality industry Priscah Mupfumira said this on May 13, 2019, according to Zimbabwean media reports.

“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority exported a total of 97 sub-adult elephants to China and Dubai between 2012 and January 1 2018,” she stated, adding, “A total of 93 elephants were exported to China and four were exported to Dubai. The elephants were airlifted to Shanghai Wildlife Park, Jiangmeu-Hesham, Chimelong and Umurgi in China and to Dubai Safari Park. There were no elephant deaths in transit”.

“The Authority received $2,715,000. The beneficiary of the revenue generated was the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. The funds were used to support elephant conservation activities,” Mupfumira continued.

According to a local Zimbabwean media report, the elephants were sold for prices ranging from $13,500 to $41,500 each.

The minister also called for the legalisation of elephant ivory so that Zimbabwe could sell its stocks, which have not been sold due to bans on the trade.

“We are sitting on ivory worth $300 million which could be sold to fund our conservation programmes as well as benefit communities living in wildlife areas,” she said.

She also claimed that Zimbabwe had a surfeit of elephants now which could not be culled.

“Zimbabwe’s carrying capacity is 55,000 elephants but now we have 85,000. We cannot cull due to CITES restrictions and this is one of the issues we discussed recently at the Elephant Summit in Kasane, Botswana,” said Mupfumira.

Zimbabwe has the second-highest elephant population in Africa after Botswana and ahead of Namibia, Zambia and Angola. Trade in elephant ivory is restricted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).

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