Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Safari operators back live animal sales

Safari operators back live animal sales

Live animal sales being conducted by the Zimbabwe government periodically are crucial in assisting the country earn revenue from its wildlife resources while also helping it to sustainably manage the wild animal population, the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ) has said.

Early this month, the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) confirmed the sale of 35 elephants to China late last year, in a deal that was condemned by many wildlife advocates who argued that their sale disrupted the social structure of their herds.

The ZimParks has insisted that revenues from such sales would greatly aid conservation efforts while also helping to sustainably manage the growing elephant population.

And, in a show of support, the safari operators said live animal sales were a better option than resorting to culling to control the soaring elephant population.

Officials have said the country now had an estimated elephant population of over 83 000.

SOAZ president Emmanuel Fundira said despite the massive public outcry, the sales only took place after approval by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

“Surely as a sovereign state we should be able to get value from these animals through sales rather than letting them starve and die due to lack of pastures,” he said.

The sales are conducted under Cites rules on live animal sales which demand that the habitat which the animals are being exported to is acceptable, among other demands.

Increasing wildlife populations have also resulted in a surge in human, wildlife conflict while the authority also continues to battle increasingly sophisticated poaching syndicates mainly targeting elephant and rhino horns.

ZimParks is also trying to unlock value through live animal sales to particularly elephants after Cites forbade the trade of ivory which is one avenue through which Zimbabwe could earn revenue from its animals.

Zimbabwe also earns revenue from its wildlife through professional animal trophy hunting. — New Ziana.

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