Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira said over a period of six years, the country had exported 97 elephants to the two destinations where they were sold to zoos and parks.
“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority exported a total of 97 sub-adult elephants to China and Dubai between 2012 and 1 January 2018. A total of 93 elephants were exported to China and four were exported to Dubai.”
At $13,500 and $41,500 each, the proceeds from the sale of the baby elephants would go towards the conservation of elephants according to Mupfumira.
“We are sitting on ivory worth $300m which could be sold to fund our conservation programmes as well as benefit communities living in wildlife areas,” Mupfumira added.
Zimbabwe had opted against the option of culling elephants as proposed by Cites, a group that works in the area of trading in endangered species.
Incidentally, leaders of four southern African nations – Algeria Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe recently met at an Elephant Summit in Kasane, Botswana where discussions were held on the lifting of elephant hunting sanction and are backing a request for Cites to allow ivory stockpile sales to fund elephant conservation.