Wildlife groups say elephants will die if separated from mothers as minister tells. Also 7 lion cubs have been rounded up for sale.
Zimbabwe’s government has admitted capturing baby elephants for export to the United Arab Emirates, despite warnings from conservation groups that taking them away from their mothers could kill them.
Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, told the Telegraph it was normal for wildlife to be captured in the country’s largest game reserve and exported “from time to time”.
But he denied reports that the animals were destined for Chinese zoos, saying they were destined for the UAE.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said visitors to the park had witnessed the capture of elephants aged between two-and-a-half and five years old by government helicopters and ground teams, who roped them together after separating them from their mothers by firing shots above the heads of the herd.
…Elephants live in highly social, matriarchal societies, and babies are fully dependent on their mother’s milk until at least five years of age, often pining and dying if they are taken away from them…
In the picture: Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s environment minister. Photo: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP