URGENT SIGNATURES NEEDED: Zimbabwe baby elephants destined for North Korea
2010-05-19

Since we published the article below commenting on the news that Zimbabwe were planning to sell pairs of endangered wildlife from Hwange National Park to a zoo in North Korea, the groundswell of public outrage against the trade has continued to rise, amplified by further articles in The Times and on CNN.

Born Free CEO Will Travers says:

“The Born Free Foundation started because of the capture, live export and premature death of an young elephant in a zoo. I am appalled that, yet again, live animals including baby elephants are being shipped around the world for no good reason. They will not be contributing to conservation, they will not be contributing to education, their welfare will suffer and their lives – almost certainly – will be short and miserable. No serious conservationist thinks this is acceptable and we must do all in our power to bring such a brutal trade to an end.”

Show your support for the opposition to this trade and help us to protect families like the ones pictured (photo by Nick Greaves taken in Hwange National Park) by signing our pledge

To contact Morgan Tsvangirai follow these steps:

1.    Go into the website www.zimbabweprimeminister.org
2.    Click on contacts
3.    Send an email to the Prime Minister. Please be civil.

Other ways you can support Born Free

From May 17th:

Born Free is deeply concerned by the recent news that a string of wild animals, many of them endangered, will be sent from Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe to North Korea. We can see no conservation benefit to these plans, and are concerned about the substantial threat to the welfare of the individual animals involved.

Of particular concern are the reports that two young elephants – each only 18 months old – are to be caught from the wild in Hwange. Baby elephants normally continue to suckle from their mothers for 4 years, so removal at this young age could have a severe physical impact in terms of nutrition, immunity and other developmental issues. It is also certain to have a huge impact on the emotional and social development of the young animals and cause severe distress to the mothers themselves and the herds in which they live.

However, it seems that elephants will not be the only animals to suffer. Allegedly, the agreement between the two countries states that two of every mammal species found in Hwange will be send to North Korea. This would include white rhinoceros, lions, leopard, cheetah, the endangered wild dog and the critically endangered black rhinoceros. We have minimal information about the conditions in which they would be kept, but our fear is that the facilities in North Korea would fall far short of even the most basic requirements for the physical and psychological well-being of the animals. For these animals to be taken from a life in the wild to one of inestimable captive suffering would be a tragic fate.

The Hwange National Park has for several years been the subject of a series of very disturbing reports concerning poaching. These reports have included references to subsistence hunting, commercial game hunting, collusion of senior wildlife officials in hunting, and even hunting by park staff as a substitute for salary payments. In the light of these major concerns, it would seem that the government should be taking steps to ensure the security of the animals in the park, not taking part in removing them senselessly for political reasons.

Born Free calls on the government of Zimbabwe to abandon these planned transfers, for the sake of the animals, the Park, and the country as a whole. 

We are trying to find out more, and will add any further news on this issue as soon as we receive it – please check the site regularly for updates or sign our pledge.

 Original Article