Wild elephants in Namibia are sold internationally | National Geographic

An auction notice in Namibia in December 2020 stated that the elephants would be sold by the herd and that families would not be separated. The calves can be seen in drone footage of the farm where 22 captive elephants are being kept destined for export. Namibian journalist John Grobler filmed the video on February 12. He says he is concerned that more elephants are pregnant and that the pressures of captivity may lead to premature births.

“We captured the herds of elephants, and it is possible that some of the elephants were pregnant,” Muyonda says. He confirms that two calves were born after the elephants were taken from the wild, and says that they are fine.

Grobler was accused of entering the farm without permission. According to Muyunda, this prompted the ministry to issue a statement today to clarify the current situation.

Grobbler says he was on a public road when he flew a drone over the farm to see the elephants. The farm owner, JH Odendale, declined to comment for this story.

It is controversial whether Namibia is allowed to export wild elephants to a foreign zoo or other buyer outside of South Africa at all.

Watch also: Watch this mother protect her newborn elephant from a herd of lions.

CITES, which regulates international trade in endangered species, including the export of wild African elephants, was amended in 2019 to ban the export of elephants from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa to countries where the animals do not live or live in the wild unless there is a proven benefit. to save. This almost certainly excludes sales to zoos in China and the United States, for example.

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In October 2021, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment on whether facilities in the US had applied for an import permit for elephants from Namibia. National Geographic He submitted a Freedom of Information Act request (a type of Wob request) for all permit requests that might be associated with him, but he has not yet received this data.

Dan Ash, president and CEO of the US-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), said in an email on Monday that the association is not aware of any involvement by its members in the elephant auction in Namibia. “We share our concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding this initiative,” Ash said. However, he added, members are not obligated to inform the AZA about the possible import of animals.

“The Namibian authorities should listen to international elephant experts and stop these catastrophic exports before it is too late.” So says Mark Jones, head of policy at the UK-based Born Free Foundation. This group opposes the removal of animals from the wild.

Namibia’s elephant exports will be discussed next month at the CITES meeting to be held in Lyon, France.

Wildlife Watch is an investigative reporting project for National Geographic and National Geographic Partners, with a particular focus on wildlife crime and wildlife exploitation. Read more Wildlife Watch stories and learn more about the mission of the nonprofit National Geographic Society at natgeo.com/impact. Send tips, feedback and story ideas to [email protected].

This article was originally published in English at nationalgeographic.com

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