The Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (ZNSPCA) has been denied access to the country’s captive elephants,
reportedly about to be sent to captive facilities in China. This suggests that
welfare concerns are being ignored. The ZNSCPA is constitutionally permitted to
access any part of the country if they suspect cruelty to animals. An urgent
chamber application for access is likely to be submitted today.
China has recently made significant strides as a conservation champion, especially through its dedication to the ‘Ecological Civilisation’ programme and subsequent leadership decision to terminate domestic legal ivory markets. This has contributed to a laudable and growing reputation of China as a new champion of conservation, especially towards saving African elephants. However, the sale of baby elephants forcibly removed from their mothers and families (estimated at over 100 since 2012) in Zimbabwe to be sold to China has brought denunciation even from those who are typically in favour of so-called ‘sustainable use’.
We are deeply concerned about the reportedly imminent export of some 33 juvenile wild-caught elephants from Zimbabwe to captive locations in China. Our concerns are based on our understanding of elephant biology, of international agreements and national legislation as well as public sentiment within Africa and more widely.
It has been reported in the press in Pakistan, confirmed by Punjab Wildlife Director Naeem Bhatti and confirmed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia that Pakistan has made an application to import 10 African elephants from Namibia to captive facilities in Pakistan.
It has been reported in the press in both Pakistan and Namibia that Pakistan has made an application to import 10 African elephants from Namibia to captive facilities in Pakistan. This has also been confirmed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Removing baby elephants from their families is increasingly recognised as an ethically and ecologically unacceptable practice. It is universally recognized that elephants are wide-ranging, vastly intelligent, sentient beings with a highly organised social structure including strong family bonds that can last a lifetime. Elephants also have basic needs for stimulating ecological and social environments, and for the freedom to exercise choice over their foraging options and companions. These needs cannot be met under captive conditions and elephants so deprived inevitably suffer from physical and mental pathologies.