Free the 33
More than 30 baby elephants are being held in captivity outside a national park in Zimbabwe after traffickers sold them from the wild - shattering their complex family networks. They are slated for exportation to zoos in China, AUE, and France (read more about this from Elephants DC on The Dodo).
Wildlife activists have called upon Zimbabwe to return the elephants to the wild. But the country stands behind their decision to sell these baby elephants claiming that the Hwange National Park can only support 15,000 elephants (recent surveys suggest as many as 50,000 elephants roam through the park).
However, Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force in an interview Tuesday brought up some very good points:
“…elephants continuously wander back and forth into Zimbabwe from Zambia and Botswana so any game count confined to Zimbabwe could not be entirely accurate.There’s no fence. When you get to Hwange you hardly see these elephants. Where are these elephants hiding, that’s what I’d like to know?
“And if there are so many animals in Hwange, why don’t you relocate them to Chizarira (National Park) and other areas (in northern Zimbabwe) where there is a shortage?”
Zimbabwe had more than 20,000 elephants poached over the last few years.
But the situation is not completely hopeless. In 2012, with the help of a global outcry, Zimbabwe Wildlife and Environment Association managed to get five Zimbabwean elephants marked for export returned to the wild. - Of the four others that it could not save from export to China, only one remains alive today. - International pressure can help to ensure transparency and fair play.
GET INVOLVED with the global outcry today! TWEET for their release. Wildlife is being trafficked out of Zimbabwe and those responsible must be brought to justice. (Thanks to the Elephants DC Action Page for this information!)
Ask the State Department to get involved
SAMPLE TWEET:Elephant calves have complex needs being dependent on their mothers with strong social bonds. Help FREE the #ZimbabweElephants! @StateDept
Appeal to the U.S. Embassy Harare for help!
SAMPLE TWEET:SOS! Act now to save baby #ZimbabweElephants stolen from the Hwange @usembassyharare The elephants face death or life in prison if deported.
SEND A LETTER TO Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and ask him to stop the sale of the elephant calves and other wildlife to North Korea. You can use the sample message below shared from IDA but please personalize it as much as possible to maximize effectiveness.
To: The Right Honourable Morgan Tsvangirai,
I am deeply disturbed at the news that Zimbabwe plans to sell two wild-caught baby elephants and other wildlife to North Korea. I strongly oppose this plan and implore you to cancel the sale.
With all that we know about elephants and their strong social bonds, it is completely unacceptable to subject young calves to the trauma of being separated from their mothers and families. Should these calves even survive their ordeal and long trip to North Korea, they face a lifetime of confinement in zoo conditions that are gravely detrimental to their health and welfare. Recent science shows that elephants in zoos suffer from a multitude of captivity-caused diseases and conditions that cut their lives short; the average life span of African elephants in zoos is decades shorter than in the wild.
People around the globe care deeply about elephants and will be closely watching this situation. Please show the world that Zimbabwe cares about preserving and protecting its wildlife by putting a halt to the export of these baby elephants and other wildlife taken from their natural habitats.
(please include your name, city and state, and country)
To send your email to Prime Minister Tsvangirai, please:
1. Send an email to [email protected]
2. Sign THIS PETITION