Cape Town - Namibia’s
environmental authorities confirmed that they have issued the
necessary CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species) export
permit for the sale of five wild elephant
calves by Eden Game Farm in the Grootfontein district to a zoo in Dubai.
elephants are listed on CITES Appendix ll with a restrictive annotation which
limits the sale of live elephants to in situ conservation projects.
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sanctioning this sale they are undermining this agreement. The proposed
transfer to a zoo in Dubai clearly fails to respect this restriction, so it
would appear that such a sale would be in breach of the annotation, and therefore
might fall foul of international rules,” says a letter addressed to the CITES
Secretariat by elephant expert , Michele Pickover.
to Namibia’s environmental department the elephant export is allowed under
CITES regulations as long as the trade doesn’t threaten the long term survival
of the species and that the elephants would not be used primarily for
elephant specialists disagree: “With their elephant population listed under
CITES Appendix II, their attempt to possibly exploit the text stipulated by the
annotation and restrictions regarding live trade of elephants under this
listing is unacceptable and must be challenged,” says Humane Society International’s, Audrey
approved, this sets a dangerous precedent; both in how elephants are managed
and how international treaties may be manipulated, and must be
also urged the secretariat to confirm the legal parameters of Namibia’s trade
in elephants: “Can the Secretariat confirm that the intention of the annotation
attached to the Appendix II listing for Namibia’s elephants is to restrict ALL
live elephant exports from Namibia to bona fide in situ conservation projects,
and NOT to allow exports that are clearly commercial in nature, serve no conservation
purpose, and come with serious potential implications for the welfare of the
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to Namibian officials the chosen five elephants ranging between the ages of 4
and 8 years will be captured and removed from their mothers before being
isolated and “tamed” for translocation to the zoo.
Cruel practice to inflict on kind animals
capturing of wild elephants has been globally condemned as there is no
conservation value in displaying wild caught animals in captivity and also that
the practice is both cruel and unethical.
These concerns are recognised in South Africa’s
Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants which specifically prohibit
the capture of wild elephants to be kept in permanent captivity.
sales of wild elephants can create a perverse financial incentive for other
countries to engage in poor conservation practices, disguising the sales as
conservation, wildlife management, or as ‘rescues.’” says one report on the capture of wild
elephants for zoos.
Research has shown that elephants
are highly sentient beings which are extremely dependent on family bonds and do
not thrive in captivity. The removal of
calves from their mothers is highly traumatic causing severe depression and
emphasizes that “There is a critical mass of evidence to show that wild-caught
elephants do not fare well in captivity. These young elephants will still be
highly dependent on their mothers and family groups, and their removal will
cause huge stress and anxiety for them and the remaining family members”.
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