We are very sorry to report that Zimbabwe is preparing to transport yet another group of elephant calves to China, despite repeated protests by conservationists, animal protection groups, and elephant advocates.
The group is believed to include 35 elephant calves, some as young as two years old, who were separated from their mothers and are being held in pens at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Once sent to China the calves will be distributed to zoos, some of which may use elephants for circus-style shows. In the past calves have died during the long trip to China or after arriving at a zoo. Others were observed to be in poor condition.
Removal of the calves from their mothers causes trauma and lifelong suffering for mothers, their offspring, and families. Elephant families are tight-knit and highly protective of calves, and all the females, young and old, are involved in rearing them. Female elephants naturally remain with their mothers for life.
PAWS has led actions in the past, coordinating letters signed by conservationists and elephant experts urging Zimbabwean authorities to abandon live elephant exports. Sadly, our pleas fell on deaf ears. But that won’t stop us from raising our voices on behalf of the elephants – and it shouldn’t stop you from raising yours.
This will be the fourth time since 2012 that Zimbabwe has captured elephant calves and exported them to China, with a reported total of 108 calves. This must stop.
Please urge Zimbabwean authorities to cancel the transfer of the 35 calves, and ask them to abandon the cruel practice of ripping calves from their mothers and families and sentencing these vulnerable babies to a lifetime of suffering in barren zoo exhibits.
Reach out to Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa via social media at:
Keep your message respectful. Simply urge President Mnangagwa to cancel the transfer of 35 elephant calves to China and end the capture and export of elephant calves and other wildlife. Tell him the world is watching. #WorldWatchingZimElephants #StopElephantExports
Dear Ambassador Mutembwa:
It is with great urgency that I request Zimbabwe cancel the transfer of 35 elephant calves to China, where they will live short and tortured lives, and end the capture of wild elephants.
Given the worldwide outrage over this latest capture, cancelling the elephant transfer would lift Zimbabwe in the eyes of the world and show that it is a responsible protector of its wildlife. This would also help promote the development of responsible wildlife tourism, which has the potential to generate far more income for the country than the sale of elephants to foreign zoos.
It has been estimated that a live elephant has a potential lifetime value to wildlife tourism of more than US$1.5 million, including income generated for travel companies, airlines, and local economies. The long-term loss of tourism dollars resulting from the capture and sale of elephant calves far outweighs any short-term financial gain.
Elephants are part of Zimbabwe’s great wildlife heritage, and we ask that you do all that you can to preserve and protect them. The world is watching Zimbabwe and hoping your government will do the right thing.
Please share this email with the Honorable President Mnangagwa.