THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has confirmed exporting four elephants to a zoo in China from Hwange National Park, home to more than 30 000 jumbos.
Report by Dumisani Sibanda
It has also confirmed receiving requests for purchases of the elephants from the Democratic Republic of Congo, United States, Ukraine and France.
In a statement responding to enquiries from NewsDay, recently, the authority said the elephants were airlifted to the Asian country.
“This was after officials in China met the authority’s requirements,” read the statement.
“The elephants were accompanied by a Parks official and met Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species requirements on live wild animal exports.
“The elephants were airlifted after the Authority, assisted by a wildlife veterinarian assessed their intended destination and was satisfied.”
There were concerns that the elephants which were exported early this month had been subjected to “cruelty” as they had to endure a trip of about 800 km by road to Harare from Hwange before being airlifted.
Some animal activists also felt taking the animals to a zoo would be stressful to the elephants as they were not used to such captivity.
They were also concerned about the condition of elephants whose number they put at 14 that were being kept in a boma at Hwange National Park ready for export.
“Currently there are five and not 14 elephants in a boma at Hwange National Park and are constantly being assessed by an independent veterinary official,” said the statement.
“The authority has received requests for the purchase of elephants from potential clients from countries such as France, Ukraine, United States of America and DRC.”
The wildlife authority said the transaction was “above board and within the laws of the country”.