Elephants for Sale in Zimbabwe Where Parks Are Starved for Funds
Zimbabwe is considering the sale of as many as 62 live elephants to China, France and the United Arab Emirates because Hwange National Park, the country’s biggest game reserve, isn’t receiving adequate state funding.
Elephants can be sold for between $40,000 and $60,000 each, depending on age, and the revenue could help meet the $2.3 million annual running costs of the park in the northwest of the country, Director for Conservation at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authorities, Geoffreys Matipano, said in a Dec. 18 interview at Hwange.
“We are pursuing it aggressively as part of conservation efforts because we have plenty of elephants here,” Matipano said. “We don’t receive state funding and we rely on selling animals for our day to day operations, we are nowhere near what we want.”
The size of Zimbabwe’s economy has halved since 2000, according to the government, after the seizure of commercial farms for redistribution to subsistence farmers slashed exports and triggered a near-decade long recession. Funding for services such as national parks has dried up along with the money needed for the maintenance of infrastructure such as roads and water supplies.
While African elephants are considered endangered, with about 470,000 left in the wild in 37 countries, about 300,000 of them live in the southern African nations of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.