Shedding crocodile tears over jumbos

my turnIrony is writ large when Rhodesian Selous Scouts who murdered our women and children in the liberation war begin to sound pious for baby elephants.

Over the past couple of years, there have been shrill calls by some international quarters to bar Zimbabwe from exporting excess elephants, most of them calves.

Zimbabwe has an overabundance of elephants, as figures show.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says results from surveys conducted over time show that there is local over abundance of populations in the Hwange-Matetsi Complex (the biggest natural habitat in the country) where the estimated elephant population is 53 949, which is above the ecological carrying capacity of approximately 15 000 elephants.

“This means that there is an excess of over 30 000 elephants that are being held in Hwange National Park and are available for relocation to areas within the country and export to other countries.”

And one of the ways to get rid of the excess is to sell the jumbos and preferably so calves which are not only adaptable but also precluded from reproducing and further compound over population and the ecological pressures that this presents in the country.

Zimbabwe could as well kill the excess elephants, which is gory enough a practice known as culling and which is sure to send revulsion and disgust.

And more so, Zimbabwe being one country international media would want to paint negatively.

Therein lies one of the ironies about growing calls from mainly western organisations that are crying blue murder over the export of the animals.

We are now told that these calves are only “babies” and the fact that Zimbabwe is selling “baby elephants” (Oh, how cute and innocent!) to China (of all places) is meant to evoke the utmost revulsion against the government of Zimbabwe which is bad enough to have a President called Robert Mugabe.

You get a feeling that the rallying around “baby elephants” could as well be another basis for regime change.

First, it was Mugabe allegedly abusing human rights; going on to allegedly kill his own people with cholera, and innocent (but illegal) diamond panners, and now he is overseeing the selling of elephants to some inhospitable zoos in China.

The estimated elephant population is 53 949, which is above the ecological carrying capacity of approximately 15 000 elephants, yet there are some who are crying foul over their exportation

The estimated elephant population is 53 949, which is above the ecological carrying capacity of approximately 15 000 elephants, yet there are some who are crying foul over their exportation

You now hear some white groups based in America and Britain and their local acolytes complaining that Zimbabwe is, “unnecessarily seizing wild elephants for a lifetime in captivity”; that the elephants suffer “controversial capture”; that the elephants would be “sentenced to a life of inhuman treatment” and so on.

It only gets more sinister.

Last month some activists in the US sought to haul Zimbabwe before the courts of that country for the sale of its elephants.

Reports say these “conservationists” told a court that the sale “deserve swift condemnation from the United States” and argued that some of the elephants do not even belong to Zimbabwe and were being captured in Botswana and Zambia.

Then we are treated to some psychological-scapes around the capture of “baby elephants”.

We are told that they are kidnapped and their “capture facilities” are surrounded by “guards armed with AK-47s”.

The authoritative National Geographic explains that, “Elephants help each other in distress, grieve for their dead and feel the same emotions — happiness, love, sorrow — for each other just as we do”, but the hapless ones are left “lonely, scared and without the protection or care of their mothers.”

After what we have seen as Zimbabwe has been subjected to all kinds of evil machinations by the West following the land reform programme which redistributed land from a minority clique of 6 000 white farmers to over 2 million blacks, one can conclude that this is politicking by mainly racist and disgruntled white people and their friends and relatives some of whom used to run the wildlife sector in Zimbabwe.

Suffice to say, that was their source of livelihood and pride.

Their displacement angers them and so does Zimbabwe’s enjoyment of its natural resources.

They did that with the land.

They did so with diamonds — despite the fact that Zimbabwe was a compliant member of such regulatory bodies such as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.

Zimbabwe is a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the authoritative body has not raised a red flag over Zimbabwe.

The noises are coming from the country’s detractors who should be told to go and hang their racist selves.

Zimbabwe owns every natural resource in this country from land and its elephants, snakes, lizards and everything on top of it or within its rich belly which include diamonds and gold.

It is also critical to note that authorities are doing what is aboveboard and the body responsible for wildlife protection and development has shown good cause for the export of “baby elephants”.

Zim Parks says the excess elephants have resulted in habitat degradation and affected biodiversity particularly in Hwange National Park.

In addition, local overpopulation of elephants has resulted in competition between the elephants and other species in the parks, especially for browsing and water during the dry season. Elephants are getting into direct conflict with inhabitants of adjacent rural local communities as they destroy vegetation, crops, and infrastructure and even kill people under various circumstances.

On the available evidence Zimbabwe must in fact be applauded for opting for non-lethal options in the management of its elephant population.

Authorities note that, “at our own expense as a country (and we have more than a fair share of challenges), we have burdened ourselves with the huge costs of managing abnormal elephant populations for the benefit of the entire world.”

Historically, Zimbabwe and other African countries have been managing such resources as fauna and flora, which ironically were to be over-hunted and decimated by the same people that are now purporting to be the knights in shining armour.

Every well-meaning person must ignore these idiotic campaigns which are generally grounded on hostile politics and in essence attempts to undermine or reverse the self-determination of the majority blacks of this country.

And, as former Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere pointed out, irony is writ large when Rhodesian Selous Scouts who murdered our women and children in the liberation war begin to sound pious for baby elephants.

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