Source: Call to sell excess jumbos | The Sunday Mail August 7, 2016
Parks acting director-general Mr Wilson Mutinhima said the elephant population exceeded demand for food and water; adding that human-wildlife conflicts were on the increase as the two competed for space, water and food.
“We have people who are maimed in this country and we have people who have lost limbs in human-wildlife conflict,” he said.
“The food insecurity in this country is also partly caused by human-wildlife conflict, but CITEs is gravitating towards the protectionist approach.
“But we are saying no, even if we are protecting the numbers may still dwindle or get finished for one reason or the other. Let people derive benefit from their resources. So we are seeking the removal of that annotation which restricts us from trading on the open market.”
Zimbabwe’s elephant carrying capacity is 45 000. Ecologist Mr Lovelater Sebele said elephants needed between 200kg and 300kg of forage and about 200 litres of water daily.
With Zimbabwe’s elephant population standing at over 80 000, at least 16 million litres of water and 24 000 tonnes of food are needed each day.
Given the current water shortage as a result of a drought, experts say elephants may end up dying of starvation.
Secretary for Environment, Water and Climate Mr Prince Mupazviriho said the issue of Zimbabwe’s elephants would be taken to COP 17 in accordance with rules and regulations of CITEs.
“We have made a detailed proposal which we are taking to COP 17 and the motion will be considered.
“We can’t just go there and say we want this and this to happen. It has to be done with procedure but on that you can get more details from parks authorities,” he said.
China, Vietnam and the United States are among the major buyers of ivory, where it is used for various purposes including ornaments and jewellery.