SNATCHED FROM THE WILD – CURATING AFRICAN ELEPHANTS FOR LIVE EXHIBITIONS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
1st April 2022
Excerpt from this Report:
The full history of the contentious trade deal involving wild elephants caught in Namibia and exported to the United Arab Emirates into a life of captivity is well documented in the previously published Report by the EMS Foundation.
One the 4th of March 2022, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums published their position statement on the import of wild Namibian elephants from Namibia to Al Ain Zoo. They stated that they were not able to determine if all the requirements of WAZA’s Code of Ethics have been met.
The European Associations of Zoos and Aquaria have published their official opinion regarding the aforementioned trade of wild-caught elephants. The EAZA Elephant Taxon Advsiory Group who oversees the African elephant EEP has repeatedly and clearly informed Al Ain Zoo that no import of wild caught elephants was either necessary or desirable.
It is, however impossible to believe that all EAZA executives were unaware of this particular acquisition of wild elephants. The close associations between EAZA and the Al Ain Zoo and Sharjah Safari Park, are highlighted in this document. Tim Husband stated clearly that elephants were being procured from Namibia for export to the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
Furthermore, the designing, planning and building of the aforementioned elephant exhibitions took place in the UAE over several years at a cost of millions of dollars and these projects would not have gone unnoticed. Questions must have been raised about where the African elephants were being procured and imported from.
At the CITES 74th Standing Committee Meeting held on the 9th of March 2022, Namibia’s interpretation of CITES regulations pertaining to exporting elephants out of their range states was discussed at length under agenda item number 50.
Once again CITES inconsistency in the treatment of the export of live wild elephants listed under Appendix I or Appendix II has been highlighted and is a matter of concern. Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Congo, Israel and the United Kingdom representatives to mention but a few, do not agree with Namibia’s interpretation of exports of live African elephants to a non-range state.
This matter was not concluded and will be taken up at CITES CoP19 which will held in Panama in November 2022.
However, in the meantime Namibia has suggested that there are 20 remaining wild elephants that apparently were sold on auction in 2021 who will be captured once the permits are concluded.
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