Zimbabwe’s Ivory trade

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Zimbabwe is expecting to sell ivory worth US300m to fund conservations.

Elephant tusks seem to be more of an accessory and are still sold worldwide at millions of prices. The highest population being in Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia to have elephants there.

With everyday ivory tusks worth US300 million, the Southern African nation has the most stockpile of these elephant tusks worth millions. While the big frustration over international ivory increases, the banning of these ivories still remains indefinite.

“the stocks are from natural attrition of those animals,” If given the permission to sell the stockpiles then the money raised would be able to finance conservation efforts for the next two decades.” He said in an interview.

With support coming from both Zambia, Namibia and Botswana with the largest population of elephants. In recent years, Zimbabwe has raised enough capital by selling elephants to the Chinese citizens. The size of the elephant estimated at 84,000 is equivalent to the food and land supported by the government. Earlier this year, Botswana was able to lift the banning of wildlife hunting as there were too many elephants in the country which destroyed crops and killed people.

A plainclothes police officer arranges seized elephant tusks to be inspected at Makupa police station in Mombasa June 5, 2014. Kenyan authorities seized 228 whole elephant tusks and 74 others in pieces as they were being packed for export in the port city of Mombasa, police and wildlife officials said. REUTERS/Joseph Okanga (KENYA – Tags: ANIMALS CRIME LAW) – RTR3SBPA

Most of the sale of tusks were sent off to Japan and China. The three major countries are making a fresh appeal on watchdogs to lift restrictive measures on the trade in raw ivory. The watchdog, Cities restricts any unregulated commercial sales on endangered species across the world. The three countries will make an application for the change at the next Cities conference to lift the measures. In 2016 the appeal was unsuccessful and rejected by the Cities.

According to the Zimbabwean ministry, it is almost 13 years since the country’s last commercial sale of the elephant tusks. The appeal in court to sell some of the elephants to international traders is still on-going as the conflict between the people and wildlife keeps escalating.

In the past five years, a maximum of 200 people have died from elephant attacks. An estimated 40% of elephants encroaching on human habitats in search of water. This year Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife management authority have confirmed the death of four people who have been trampled by elephants.  Zimbabwe has over 85,000 elephants in their country’s national park and conservation. However, conservation can only cope with 55000.

The villages staying near the game parks in Hwange and Gonarezhou have been complaining about straying animal wildlife.

“People are dying. Four people have died this year already when they were attacked by elephants,” a Zimpark spokesperson, Tinashe farawo said. “we are saying – listen to us, people are dying and livelihoods are being lost. We can’t just sit and see people die. It is a big threat”

The people staying at these places have lost a certain portion resulting in their crops which is pertains to Elephants straying on their land. Many of these residents have opted in search of new lands far away from the wildlife game park. Between 2012 and 2018, Zimbabwe was able to sell 98 elephants mainly to China.

Drought seems to be one of the biggest problems in Zimbabwe and some fear that these elephants won’t have enough drinking water. A group of Zimbabweans agree to the trade ban and say that it will be better for the elephants to feed themselves as we let them head to a different direction. With the recent event on the deadly killing of the largest elephant in Zimbabwe. A picture that was loomed on the social media have been doing the rounds. The hunt was well organised by JWK. Hours after the killing a pictured popped by their Facebook page blurring the hunters faces. However, the post has been deleted a few hours after putting it on their Facebook account due to the fact that it showed the hunters details.

The President of Zimbabwe Emmanuel Mngagwe said that the country selling the tusks wasn’t a bad idea as the money sold there will be able to help the country’s economy as the current state isn’t looking well for the country. The trade will be able to sustain this country for the next two decades to come and therefore the lifting of the ban on elephant trade is supposed to bring good news to Zimbabwe.

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About Author

Lorraine is a South African based junior journalist with Nomad Africa magazine published by 2414 Publishing (Pty) Limited. She is very passionate about travelling and a lover of the African culture. Lorraine had a Diploma in Journalism from Rosebank College in Johannesburg, South Africa and worked as an intern with The Star Newspaper. Fluent in English and other South African languages she is very eager to learn about new cultures and traditions. Though she is still very new in the industry, Lorraine is vibrant and energetic for new travelling experiences.

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