One of the 36 elephants captured by the Zimbabwean government in early December has already died, according to a nonprofit organization monitoring the situation.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force reported the news on its Facebook page, adding that the animal's "meat was shared out between the people" at the stockade where the elephant was being kept.
Even before the death was announced, animal rights groups had begun to take a stand. In a letter, Adam M. Roberts, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, had warned that the stolen animals were likely to experience extreme stress, an increased risk of disease and early death.
Removing these pachyderms from the wild also severs social ties and has "serious implications for both animal welfare and conservation," Roberts noted in the letter, which was addressed to Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's environmental minister.
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