Elephant auction stirs huge demand

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE National Parks and Wildlife Authority auction for elephants has elicited interest from private conservancy owners.



-serif”>This is in sharp contrast to initial reservations by wildlife experts that the offer would be undersubscribed because of viability problems.


Experts also said there would be very minimal support because a number of experienced game ranchers had been forcibly moved off their farms during the 2000 land reform programme by government.


The authority said tender forms were going for $1 million each so as to reduce pressure on national parks.


There are an estimated 100 000 elephants in the country, more than twice the 45 000 carrying capacity.


National Parks spokesperson Edward Mbewe last week said they had received numerous offers.


“They are still coming in and the response has been good. Even before we made the tender public we had been receiving numerous offers from conservancy owners who were asking if we could offer them the elephants,” Mbewe said.


“Conservancy owners want to boost their hunting options. Our parks are overstocked.”


Mbewe could not reveal how many people had made the initial submissions, saying he would only be able to know “when the tender closes”.


The elephants tender closes on May 27.


Under the bidding system, those interested in the jumbos are required to prove that they can transport the animals if their bids are successful.

Meanwhile, the authority is failing to dispose of 10 tonnes of elephant tusks because they cannot be exported. The country needs the permission of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) to export the ivory.


Zimbabwe is under Appendix II of the Cites convention which does not allow for trade in endangered species such as elephants.

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