Target: Jerry Gotora, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority
Goal: Stop conservation authority’s efforts to trap and sell vulnerable baby elephants
At least 62 baby elephants will be captured and exported by Zimbabwe Parks officials in a bid to raise funding for national parks and conservancies. According to an announcement, the country’s elephant population has grown above the land’s carrying capacity. Officials claim that despite increasing threats from poachers and military land grabs, populations are growing at unsustainable rates.
While parks officials may have the best interest of the population in mind, taking baby elephants from their mothers can cause serious distress for these social animals. Most young elephants will stay with their mothers for three years, while females will stay for their entire lives. Some scientists believe elephants to be some of the most sentient creatures in the animal kingdom, as they have displayed grief for deceased family members and the desire to help other elephants escape danger.
Zimbabwe’s elephant populations are some of the most robust in all of Africa, but as elephant numbers decrease in other parts of the world, poachers will inevitably move into Zimbabwe. Last year, at least 300 elephants were poached from a single national park. Poaching could soon increase the mortality rate to a point where new births are unable to keep population levels steady.
While exporting elephants to foreign countries is irresponsible from a conservation standpoint, taking baby elephants away from their mothers is simply cruel. More compassionate alternatives exist, including the relocation of entire herds to safe areas, rather than to countries like China, where poachers have depleted most of the elephant population. Sign the petition below to urge Zimbabwe to cancel the sale and export of baby elephants to foreign countries.
Dear Chairman Gotora,
The Zimbabwe Parks Authority announced a plan to sell at least 62 wild baby elephants to outside countries such as France, China, and the United Arab Emirates. The elephants would be captured from the wild and sold for around $50,000 each in order to raise money for conservation efforts.
Trapping young elephants can cause extreme stress to both mother and child, who would stay together for at least three years in the wild. This could lead to negative health effects in the elephants, which are extremely intelligent and emotional creatures.
It is counterproductive to trap and sell elephants in the name of conservation, particularly with poaching on the rise. We, the undersigned, ask that a more responsible alternative be found to trapping and exporting vulnerable baby elephants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peter H. Wrege via Creative Commons