I asked Johnny for more details about what happens to the animals. He sent me this note:-
They are farming them and supplying the safari parks zoos and circuses. They exported live lions, crocodiles and all different species to China including more than two hundred and fifty rhinos they also exported elephants lions crocodiles to Emirates on the 21st of this month big business wildlife trade. Sick world.
The previous First Lady, Grace Mugabe is under investigation for smuggling and exportation of ivory, gold and diamonds out of Zimbabwe. Investigators only touched the tip of the iceberg as it is believed that Ms. Mugabe started smuggling as early as 2005 while serving in her role as First Lady. Ms. Mugabe had a history of being very friendly with one of the female Chinese Nationals and it is of our opinion that they were likely working together.
ZCTF believes that the investigation into Ms. Mugabe’s alleged smuggling activities should be carried out by an independent agency. We have been following the practices of CIO airport security for a number of years. It is possible that under Ms. Mugabe’s instruction, ivory was smuggled onto planes that flew directly to China under the watchful eye of airport “security.”
After the investigation takes place, if Ms. Mugabe and other senior members of government are found guilty or involved in the smuggling of ivory, they should be prosecuted and brought to justice. Monies derived from the sale of ivory and wildlife should be confiscated and repaid to the National Parks.
The Professional Hunters (PH) fraternity of Zimbabwe lost all ethics of hunting when they killed collared wildlife. Ethical considerations fell to the wayside during the previous regime due to corruption and greed. The death of the big tusked elephant in Gonarezhou can be added to the increasing list of collared animals killed by trophy hunters to include Cecil and Xanda among others. There are too many conflicting reports offered up by researchers, safari operators, hunters and people responsible for collaring the wildlife. A Memorandum of Understanding between hunters, safari operators and researchers should state that any collared animal should not be shot, killed or disturbed in any manner. People involved in hunting a collared animal should be penalized appropriately to deter others from committing similar actions.
The Professional Hunter involved with the recent killing of the collared big tusked elephant is part owner of the Three Monkeys Restaurant in Victoria Falls. We believe this restaurant is a lucrative business that serves a wide variety of exotic meat and steaks. The procurement and source of the meat served leaves the ZCTF highly suspicious, as no matter what you order in the way of steaks and or meat, they seem to have it. People should be aware that in many instances they are eating wildlife.
ZCTF just learned that four lions and ten hyenas have been captured for export to China. These numbers are in addition to the eighteen hyenas and ten lions exported earlier to China. China placed a new order for an additional 200 baby elephants. The new order for 200 baby elephants is in addition to the outstanding order of 100 baby elephants that remain to be captured. This is NOT conservation.
Earlier in February, four crocodiles were captured in Hwange to be exported to China. This capture occurred under the new President. It appears nothing much has changed at this point. Perhaps positive changes for conservation will happen with the election of a new democratic government.
In addition to the loss of wildlife due to poaching and hunting; habitat loss is at an all-time high through deforestation. Trees, indigenous to Zimbabwe, are being felled. These trees and timber are being exported out of Zimbabwe to China. This has to stop.
CITES gave their constitution, governing rules and regulations to the world. Too many regulations are being broken and ignored in Africa. Nothing is being done. Where is CITES as the habitats and wildlife are being pillaged in Africa?
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Johnny Rodrigues at ZCTF
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force