Monday, 9 February 2015

Zimbabwe defends plan to sell 27 elephants to China

Officials send experts to assess suitability of Chinese zoos as conservationists condemn plan to export wild elephants

Monday 9 February 2015 14.59 GMT

Zimbabwe has defended its plan to export 27 live elephants to China, saying it has sent experts to assess the suitability of the Chinese zoos they are destined for.

A Zimbabwean ambassador also said that the sale of the elephants is needed to raise funds for conservation efforts, echoing earlier comments by officials at the country’s cash-strapped Hwange national park.

At least 62 elephants, some of them calves, were reportedly removed from the park last year and are to be exported to countries including China, the United Arab Emirates and France. Conservationists have condemned the plan as barbaric, and over 50,000 people have signed a petition against it.

But Tadeous Tafirenyika Chifamba, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the EU, told the Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, that the export of the elephants was allowed under the wildlife trade convention, Cites.

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