"Why is Zimbabwe stealing from the future generation's natural resources?" the task force wrote in the statement. "The baby elephants quite likely won't survive the trip and the only crime they have committed is being born in Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe's environment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, told the Telegraph that capturing elephants for export was a normal thing to do "from time to time."
Colin Gilles, from the group Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe, told the paper that the government's decision to kidnap and export the elephants was likely to help ease financial woes. "We know capture of wildlife is happening for sale as the country is so desperately broke," he said.
The threat of being rounded up to be shipped abroad only compounds existing perils faced by Zimbabwe's elephants. Last year, the country was host to one of the deadliest poaching incidents on record, in which more than 300 elephants succumbed to poisoning after poachers contaminated a watering hole with cyanide.
Groups like the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force were originally established to help alleviate these threats on the nation's wildlife, but given the government's recent admissions, there may be an even more powerful element to fight against. The group, however, has vowed to not shy away: