Zimbabwe plans to increase export elephants to China despite criticism from animal rights groups, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Monday.
Muchinguri-Kashiri is quoted by the state-run Herald as telling journalists in China that the southern African country was happy with conditions under which about 100 elephants exported to the Asian giant are living.
“The Chinese have inquired about elephants, baboons, hyenas and lions, among others, and we will sell them more without hesitation. We are not going to apologise to anyone,” the minister is quoted as saying after visiting the National Ex-Situ Conservation Base for World Endangered Wild Plants and Animals in Guangzhou, China, on Sunday.
Zimbabwe has more than 80,000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 42,000 and conservationists say this is not sustainable in the long run.
Proceeds from the export of the elephants would be used to fund the running of game parks while a portion would be allocated to communities living near the game reserves.
Park authorities say lack of funds are affecting operations of game rangers, leaving animals at the mercy of poachers.