Zimbabwe sold 93 elephants to China and 4 to Dubai over a period of six years raising concerns over China’s influence in Africa and threat to natural resources.
According to the Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe Priscah Mupfumira, Zimbabwe received 2.7 million dollars as payment for the elephants.
The elephants were sold at the price ranging from 13,500 dollars and 14,500 dollars each with the government insisting that the “profits will go towards conserving wildlife.”
China has been making en route into Zimbabwe through the issuance of loans to fund mega projects including the construction of the new parliament building.
China is among the few countries in the world where trade in endangered species takes place and thousands of elephant tusks from Africa are said to have ended on markets in China.
Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have been pushing for the lifting of the ban on elephant hunting and are backing a request for cities to allow ivory stockpile sales to fund elephant conservation.
In the early part of the 20th century, there were as many as 3-5 million elephants in Africa. Currently, they are estimated to be around 415,000. Many of the Elephants in Africa have been killed through illegal poaching with most of them ending up in China.
By 2017, Kenya was said to have an estimate of 15,316 elephants after a survey that was conducted in Laikipia-Meru-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystems, Meru conservation area, Mwea National Reserve, Aberdare Forest, Mau Forest Complex and Mount Kenya Forest.
Concerns over China’s threat to Africa’s natural resources such as ivory have been rising with increasing China’s influence in Africa through the issuance of loans with some of the securities tied on some of the resources.
In Kenya, the Chinese have been blamed for taking part in illegal businesses including trading in ivory under the protection of some government officials.