The Zimbabwean government's desire for cash is resulting in the capture of baby elephants for export to China and other nations, according to many reports. Dozens of babies were captured and removed from their families late last year, and of those, one has reportedly died.
While the country denies exporting the babies to China, it did confirm capturing the elephants for export to the United Arab Emirates, and it points out the exportations are legal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Conservation activists, however, insist the exportations are highly unethical and destructive to the animals.
"For elephants, being held captive for decades in a circus or in the majority of the world's zoos is gruesome. It's a fate worse than death," Joyce Poole of Kenya-based Elephant Voices told National Geographic.
The recent uproar began with a report from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force in late November that at least 34 baby elephants had been captured inside Hwange National Park, along with seven lions and ten sable antelope.