Why Zimbabwe has to sell its elephants


To add insult to injury, the same countries that have imposed sanctions on the country have coalesced around bullying weaker nations into withdrawing support for Zimbabwe at international conservation forums such as CITES.

Zimbabwe has for years sought permission at CITES to sell its elephants and other wildlife products.

As a result, Zimbabwe is stuck with over 130 tonnes of ivory and over 5 tonnes of rhino horn.

In addition to incurring costs of managing wildlife in the bushes, Zimparks is also incurring the huge costs that come with preserving a growing stock of ivory and rhino horns worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The central vault, which keeps ivory from wildlife management ranges including state gazetted wildlife areas, gazetted indigenous forests, and communal lands, is under immense strain.

According to Matipano, there was a need to overhaul the mind-set in CITES in order to move the organisation from just listing species under Appendices on account of emotion and not science.

Instead, CITES should transform into a pragmatic organ facilitating the conservation of wildlife through international trade.

Zimbabwe is lobbying for CITES or an alternative organisation to help release the financial potential held in ivory and rhino horn stocks stashed in our vaults for the benefit not only of wildlife but communities who share borders with these animals.

Over the years, these overbearing countries have ganged up with animal rights activists to stop hunting and the trade in wildlife products.

Elephants and indeed all our animals need protection from poachers and this requires resources for our brave men and women in the bush.

They need uniforms, boots and rifles among other things.

Sadly, these hostile nations and animal rights activists are suffocating our resource streams which we need to support conservation.

Wildlife is not conserved through trade bans and restrictions, and stifling resource streams.

Encouragingly, a few international conservation organisations are beginning to see the wisdom in Zimbabwe’s approach and are rendering support to our efforts.

The ever-increasing elephant population in the country is not by accident.

It is a result of excellent conservation of the species and integrity of the wildlife habitat.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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