HARARE, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwe is keen to sell some of its elephants to reduce over population, a senior wildlife official said on Monday.
Zimbabwe has excess elephants estimated at around 100,000 and selling of the animals to other countries would significantly help the country reduce the numbers to manageable levels, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general Vitalis Chadenga said.
The country has an elephant carrying capacity of 40,000 but good conservation practices over the years and ivory trade restrictions have seen the numbers swelling, much to the detriment of the country’s biodiversity.
Speaking before a committee of parliament on Monday, Chadenga said Zimbabwe was struggling to sell the jumbos due to huge logistical and management costs involved.
“It requires a lot of management by people who take them,” he said. “It’s also expensive to capture and translocate elephants.”
Also, the country has to sell elephants only to appropriate destinations consistent with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), an international regulator for trade in ivory and other elephant products.
Just two months ago, the country lost about 100 elephants in the country’s biggest wildlife park, Hwange, due to a heat wave that swept the country. Calves and old jumbos were the most affected as they had to endure long distances to various artificial drinking holes in the park.
Chadenga said apart from elephants, his organization also engaged in local trade of wild animals such as giraffes and buffalos to raise funds for conservation and running of the self- financing state entity.
Over the past three years the organization had raked in about 250,000 U.S. dollars from selling wild animals locally, he said.