Zimbabwe made $2.7 million from the sales of more than 90 elephants to China and Dubai in a wildlife transaction necessitated by Elephant overpopulation.
Due to the overpopulation of elephants, lives and properties may be in danger. Residents and farmers in rural communities have complained of elephants invading their farmlands and destroying crops, while reports have also found some of these animals crossing the border into other countries like Zambia. As a result of these, Zimbabwe has been left with no further option than to sell the elephant in a bid to curtail their overpopulation.
Zimbabwe’s tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said the country presently had 85,000 elephants and it could only cater for 55,000. Water levels were running low in rivers and in parks. The country also lacked the resources to manage them, hence the sales. The Elephants were sold for prices ranging from $13,500 to $41,500 each.
“…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,” Minister Mupfumira said.
Mupfumira said the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority received the generated revenue and will use it to support elephant conservation activities.
Zimbabwe is known for its rich wildlife and is home for thousands of animals. In the northwest of the country, Hwange National Park serves as the biggest reserve in the country, harboring one of Africa’s largest elephant populations which are estimated at 40,000 animals. While this might have seemed like a blessing to outsiders, this national treasure has caused a few worries for the tourist site.
A $2.7 million elephant sales might be a good bargain for Zimbabwe, who needs the money to develop and sustain its wildlife attraction. But the use, sustenance, and preservation of these elephants by the purchasing countries pose a few questions. Sales might be legal in Zimbabwe, but the rights of these animals in China and Dubai is dubious at the least, unclear at most.
China is known to be the biggest market for the buying and trading of ivory tusks. Wildlife experts even believe that more than 70% of the world’s ivory ends up in the Asian country. This Ivory is removed mostly from Elephants and other tusked animals including Rhinos. Research has shown that removing tusks from these animals almost leaves them dead. Although several bans have been made on the illegal killing of these animals for their tusk, poaching is still an issue in the Asian country.
Ivory smuggling is a punishable crime in China, but reports still show that there is still so much to be done to have a lasting impact on poaching, and purchasing more animals might not be one of them.
Likewise the United Arab Emirate, a detailed review has shown the country has the third-highest number of smuggling cases worldwide including animal smuggling.
If poaching is expected to be stopped in China or its smuggling in Dubai, more regulations need to be set in place to question the protection of these elephants.
Zimbabwe is equally pushing for the ban of poaching to be lifted in order to procure more trade deals; the Government of Zimbabwe has mentioned that it possesses more than $300 million worth of ivory which cannot be sold due to the restriction. However, from all indications, it seems like the elephants will be safe in Shanghai Wildlife Park, Jiangmen-Heshan, Chimelong, and Umurgi in China and the Dubai Safari Park in Dubai.