It will be recalled that there was a lot of dust that was kicked up by the global media being fed by local white elements that are generally opposed to the indigenisation of the wildlife sector. That was when we were made to mourn about “baby elephants”.
Last week, the Washington Post carried an interesting story about how 18 elephants were being transferred from Swaziland to zoos in the United States of America.
There were some protests from conservationists but, according to the story, “a US official has said the animal transfer can be done humanely and is permissible under international law”.
The transfer was approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Department and the animals were due to be sent to Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, and Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.
The service’s associate director, Robert Dreher, batted away concerns about the transfer but reasoned that, according to the report, it does not threaten conservation of the species, which is being heavily poached, and that zoos educate the public about wildlife.
“We have looked hard at this,” said Dreher.
It is reported that at the same time an American delegation visited South Africa, Gabon and Kenya to discuss ways to stop wildlife trafficking.
The situation may sound familiar.
Well, because it is!
Zimbabwe has been caught in a similar situation as it has sought to export elephants to other countries such as China.
It will be recalled that there was a lot of dust that was kicked up by the global media being fed by local white elements that are generally opposed to the indigenisation of the wildlife sector.
That was when we were made to mourn about “baby elephants”.
That was when Zimbabwe appeared to be plundering its resources, at best, and at worst sending its elephants to suffer and die.
Somehow, zoos in China appeared to be hellholes and deathtraps.
Now we can see that American zoos are paradises – virtual Gardens of Eden!
Some of us were sceptical about the outrage over Cecil the Lion for the basic reason that it would play into the hands of those with a sinister agenda against Zimbabwe.
We heard the noises and manoeuvrings of such bodies as USFWS who saw a window of opportunity to move and cut African and particularly Zimbabwe’s revenue stream by way of trophy hunting and tourism.
It is a yet to be told story about how wildlife and the environment are being used for political ends.
And can you imagine just how good the US authorities, forever bent on punishing this little, innocent country called Zimbabwe, feel when an opportunity arises!
The reader may recall that last year in June the same USFWS banned the import of elephant trophies harvested in Zimbabwe.
The service said in a statement: “African elephants are protected under the US Endangered Species Act, which contains a provision that requires the Service to make annual determinations as to whether the import of elephant trophies from each range country would enhance the survival of the species.
“Only if the Service is able to make such an enhancement finding for a country is the import of an African elephant trophy allowed. While documents provided to the Service identified broad policy goals and objectives for the management of Zimbabwe’s elephants, the information did not identify specific management activities or measurable outcomes.”
No one will be fooled by the well-sounding and apparently well- intentioned language of conservation.
Perhaps it applies to other countries.
Zimbabwe’s chief tormentor is all about punishing Zimbabwe with the aid of inveiglements such as human rights when it is known the US does not care a hoot about those things when it suits it.
And does it care?
We reflect on these things as we understand that there is a delegation of US representatives led by Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona who are in Zimbabwe as part of a four-country fact-finding mission in the region to better understand wildlife conservation and regional security issues in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, according to information from the US Embassy in Harare.
That is the ostensible reason.
We are told the visit will enable the representatives to learn about issues of importance in the US-Zimbabwe bilateral relationship, including the protection and conservation of wildlife.
We all hope that the visitors are sincere to fact-find.
There will be a lot to learn from Zimbabwe, itself a small country that has been ruthlessly battered by an illegal sanctions regime that is championed by the US and its allies in the West to punish it for having dared to redistribute land that was stolen from our ancestors by Caucasian thieves.
The speech by Cynthia Mckinney of Georgia in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 4, 2001 remains instructive on the matter.
She noted that sanctions on Zimbabwe were a racist punishment of this African country and that in the first place “… the land was stolen from its indigenous peoples through the British South Africa Company and any ‘titles’ to it were illegal and invalid”.
She added that was “the unspoken but real reason for why the United States Congress is now concentrating its time and resources on squeezing an economically devastated African state under the hypocritical guise of providing a ‘transition to democracy’.”
This squeezing of Zimbabwe is a war.
Everything that has intervened has been given rent by it, including poaching and corruption.
Zimbabwe’s systems and morals have been eroded by the war that the West has declared on Zim- babwe.
It becomes quite ironic, hypocritical at worst, when the US seeks to use certain instruments and standards to judge Zimbabwe when it has destroyed the country’s capacity.
This is what the delegation, if it is worth its salt, should be alive to as they enjoy our hospitality which has not been diminished by the pummelling it has received from America and its friends.