Zimbabwe elephant calves on sale

Everything has a price – for Zimbabwe baby elephants at  £26,000 each, they are now in China.

Convention of International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is satisfied with the transaction on the basis that required conditions were met and both countries were in agreement that these calves will be looked after properly in their new home. CITES has details of the new habitat here.


Nigeria is one of African countries where elephant population has shrunk, many Nigerians only have heard the fairy tale of our fore fathers being Elephant Hunters (Ode Aperin). Most Nigerian children and adults alike have only seen elephants in books or on TV.

How I wish Africa for once could work together on preserving the wildlife on the continent given similar climatic conditions?

Not that Nigeria has any better record for animal protection to speak of but at least these elephants would have been close to their natural habitat. Maybe time for Nigeria Minister for Wildlife Preservation (if there’s such a title) to keep in touch with Zimbabwe – we could do with replenishing our stock.

Categories: Africa, Nigeria

Tags: ,

18 replies

  1. Zimbabwe had a surplus of Elephants when I last visited 15 years ago. At the time they were viewed as a threat because they were stripping the habitat and endangering other species. If they were in the nature reserves they were free to go but I believe that outside of those they were shot. Elephants can do a lot of damage to farmland so I understand the demarcation line.

    Sadly, poachers will kill these animals for the money for the Ivory – a cultural issue that needs to be resolved outside of the African continent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overpopulation is the reason for the sale. China is one of the biggest market for ivory, will be interesting to see how these calves were treated years from now.


      • Yes – and China is one of the most important markets for Europe and Africa. How do we explain to them what is acceptable to us without insulting their culture and risking future trade? Me finding the harvesting of Rhinoceros or Elephant Ivory for ‘medicines’ offensive isn’t going to cut it. It’s going to be another long battle… and, sadly, you are in the middle 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry FK, I disagree.
    China is a country of rule of law, and if the government says “don’t wipe out these species”, they take effective steps and people comply eg the pandas and China is awash with idle cash. This is not the case in Nigeria.
    Nigeria had its fair share of wildlife and have in their usual manner carelessly wiped them out or are on the verge of doing so. Nigeria is over-populated and will become increasingly so in the future, elephants require a lot of land to roam. Government enforcement is weak to non-existent, so I see no need to spend cash which is in short supply in Nigeria, to import elephants to their doom.
    Along with empathy to fellow human beings, animal or environmental conservation is not something Nigerians take seriously. I think a serious push on education and sensitizing the people to preserve and respect each other and what they have should be done beforehand, otherwise its a pure waste of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree, maybe Nigeria isn’t the best place for these elephants given conservation is badly run but we could learn, no?

      Hard to know how poor we really are as a country given lawmakers paycheque and lifestyle. And only yesterday the government released ₦713bn to relief states owing staff.

      Don’t we have vast idle land all over the country? And Zoo could also do, just as they are kept in the West.

      I suppose hearing Mr Mugabe encouraging Africa to have own ICC court, I thought if he has too many elephant calves, there must be another country within the continent who can take care of these animals, in the spirit of Africa rising.


      • To my mind Nigeria is definitely a poor country. The are glimpses of modest wealth (by world standards) here and here, but on the whole Nigeria doesn’t strike me as a state like Brunei or even Colombia. The nation is deeply in debt, so much so that the new president had to run off to Europe to beg for money.
        Could Nigeria learn about conservation, in theory – yes, In practice No. The environment there is simply viewed as a place to be crudely exploited (if anything of economic value can be taken out) and to dump one’s rubbish.
        The few reserves that exist are being taken over by the nomads, who treat it as a grazing ground and kill off any predators, who threaten their cattle.
        We have seen the state of zoos in Nigeria eg Benue state, like many other things the plight of saving animals would be cynically exploited by the staff and their managers to skim off the money and starve off the animals. Zoos in the West are well funded and are part of an international network to conserve species and educate the public, and steps are taken to secure domains in the wild to re-introduce the species. Zoology and other natural sciences are taken seriously and Britain is a leading world power in such fields. You can’t compare that to Nigeria, where universities are under-funded and the staff are often on strike.

        If people can’t be bothered to care for their own native species, importing replacements into a zone of death for elephants is a bad idea. At the very least, the kindest thing to elephants would be to leave them in Zimbabwe, where they are relatively better off compared to Nigeria.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ha, jco – now you don kill us patapata! Here I was hoping we could get one elephant at Ife/Ibadan zoo. Ya, that was putting the cart before the horse on my part.

          Thank you for the Benue zoo link, sad.

          OAU Ife zoo lion was exactly like that with protruding skeleton the first time I visited in the 90s but things are a bit better now, the two lions that I saw during my visit last year were well fed with very large area to roam (picture on the upper right of this site).

          Ok, for now we stick to preserving our squirrels, grasscutters and the likes…


          • Good to hear that not all lions in Nigeria are are suffering, members in Ife are now doing fine. Yep, let Nigeria do things gently in this respect – start off with the little known squirrels and the unappealing grass cutters (that is viewed as a delicacy by some).

            Liked by 1 person

            • I saw this clip featuring lions in Hassan Usman Park in Kaduna, although not at bad as their unfortunate kin in Benue zoo, these lions were kept in cages that were clearly too small for them, and thus another form of cruelty. At least they were being fed, so I guess that is a plus. We can clearly see that Nigeria is not a place generally speaking where animals are respected.

              The lions of Ife should count their ‘lucky stars’, good fortune and God if not all together for good measure.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Plastic Merry Go Round animals have more space to roam than a life lion – that cage is way too small! Ironically there are large empty green space that could be cordoned off for the lion – my people!

                Kaduna Zoo atmosphere is very similar to UI Ibadan Zoo where animals were housed in very small confined spaces – they had flooding a few years ago, the zoo last time I visited wasn’t great but their reptile section was impressive for Nigeria standard.

                Oh, unappealing grasscutter? Very tasty meat, especially the wild one.


                • FK, I’ll take your word for it. this is where culture highlights differences. I’ve not grown up seeing an animal as appealing to me. Probably, I am missing out on something, but I’m quite happy with that.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • China has no animal protection laws, and they are known for they’re cruel treatment. It’s because of their need for stupid ivory trinkets that represent prestige in China, that an elephant is poached every 15 minutes.

      Three of the 4 baby elephants transported to Chinese zoos in 2012 died shortly after the arrival. They other languishes completely alone, neglected, seriously ill, and their zoos are concrete prisons, kept in filthy conditions. The circus animals are known to be treated with extreme cruelty, actually torture, and, for christ’s sake, they have the Yulin Dog & Cat Eating Festival every year, where they steal pets, cram them in trucks, and skin them alive. I could go on for hours about China’s barbaric treatment of animals, which pretty much goes for every country in Asia.

      Just the fact that baby elephants are captured in the wild, often witnessing their mothers being brutally killed, shows that China’s greed is the only thing that’s important.

      China is completely disgusting and I wish it would be wiped off the face of the earth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you.

        I have read about animal abuse too i.e skinning life pets – that is cruel. It seems on this occasion China demonstrated the had enough resource to take proper care of the elephants, time will tell.


  3. I would imagine that elephants are one of your natural resources among other things.

    Liked by 1 person

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