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Elephants still being held to fulfil Chinese wildlife order
By Alex Bell
21 January 2013
There is concern for the fate of at least two elephants still being held in
Zimbabwe for future export, to fulfil an order placed by China.
The animals are being held in Victoria Falls, according to the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force (ZCTF). They are part of an order that was only part
filled with the export of four baby elephants to zoos in China late last
year. One of those elephants has since died.
Another five elephants, four of which were destined for China, were this
weekend transferred to the Umfurudzi National Park after they were released
from bomas they were being held in, at Hwange National Park. The animals had
been captured and removed from their family herds ahead of being exported.
But the National Parks authorities, following the intervention of the
Zimbabwe NSPCA, decided the group would be rehabilitated at Umfurudzi
because they “had grown too big” and were too used to the bomas.
The animals now face a three month rehabilitation period.
ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that this
victory is bittersweet, because it doesn’t change the fact that orders for
animals are still being placed and fulfilled. He said that there are still
animals being held, including the two elephants in Victoria Falls. He said
that orders for another 48 elephants have already been placed by
international countries, and the cash strapped government would be
fulfilling these demands.
“I praise the people that were involved in having the animals released, but
I believe there is hidden agenda. There are still animals being held,”
He said the government is already committed to fulfilling China’s order,
because they have been paid.
“I admire all the people that did so much to save them (the five released
elephants), but there are another 48 elephants on order to be exported,”
He added: “It is frightening when we exploit something that is our heritage
and export them to another country. We are going to get a High Court order
to prevent authorities from doing what they are doing.”