Zimbabwe wants to sell its wild elephants to reduce an overabundance of the creatures in the African country. According to Zimbabwe’s parks authority, Zimbabwe had an “excess” of 30,000 elephants, while some 84,000 elephants are roaming the country. Addressing journalists at the end of a two-day African Union/United Nations Wildlife Summit in Victoria Falls, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, Zimbabwe could cater to only 50,000 with an elephant population of 84,000.
“Some of our brothers north of us have exhausted their wildlife. We are willing to sell, in some cases to donate these wildlife animals.”, he added.
The country’s tourism minister, Prisca Mupfumira said that Zimbabwe is planning to sell its elephants to Angola and any other interested country. She explained that Angola is seeking to reintroduce the animals to areas that were devastated by its 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
“The main problem is landmines in Angola, so we are trying to assist them by having a fund to deal with those before we send the animals.”, she said.
According to state newspaper, Zimbabwe received nearly $3 million after selling 97 young elephants to Dubai and China over a six-year span.
Mnangagwa also opened a UN wildlife summit with a call to lift the global ivory trade ban so that the country can sell $600 million of stockpiled tusks. He said selling the elephant tusks and rhino horns would enable the impoverished nation to fund conservation efforts for 20 years.
The sale of ivory is banned by an international agreement on trade in endangered species. But Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia have all cited the growing number of elephants in some areas in their bid to have the ban relaxed, angering many conservationists. People in rural areas often complain about elephants often wander into farms and villages to eat their crops and trample their fields, sometimes with deadly consequences.