Zimbabwe raked in $2.7m for exporting baby elephants to China and the United Arab Emirates, the Tourism Minister has confirmed, according to the stet-affiliated newspaper, The Chronicle.
Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira said across a period of six years, the country had exported 97 elephants to the two destinations where they were sold.
“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority exported a total of 97 sub-adult elephants to China and Dubai between 2012 and 1 January 2018. A total of 93 elephants were exported to China and four were exported to Dubai.”
Sub-adults connotes that the exported animals were between two and three years old. The Chronicle adds that the elephants were sold for prices ranging between $13,500 and $41,500.
The Minister stressed that the profit would go towards the conservation of elephants. “Zimbabwe’s carrying capacity is 55,000 elephants but now we have 85,000,” she said.
“We are sitting on ivory worth $300m which could be sold to fund our conservation programmes as well as benefit communities living in wildlife areas,” Ms Mupfumira added.
Zimbabwe had opted against the option of culling elephants as proposed by Cites, a group that works in the area of trading in endangered species.
Incidentally, leaders of four southern African nations – Algeria Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe recently met at an Elephant Summit in Kasane, Botswana.
Reports indicate that the quartet of nations are pushing for the lifting of elephant hunting and are backing a request for Cites to allow ivory stockpile sales to fund elephant conservation.
COMMUNIQUE – KASANE ELEPHANT SUMMIT— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 8, 2019
We the Heads of State for the countries comprising the Kavango –Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA – TFCA) convened at the #KasaneElephantSummit on the 07th May 2019. pic.twitter.com/dvNAqj7c4j