Shocking footage of elephant calves being captured on August 8 and abused before being sold off to Chinese zoos shows that ivory isn’t the only thing being illegally traded.
Wildlife organizations are cracking down on the illegal ivory trade, but capturing wild elephants on the other hand is legal in Zimbabwe albeit done through secret operations.
In exclusive footage from The Guardian, officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority handle the operation in Hwange national park, from identifying potential candidates in herds to tranquilizing and capturing the elephant calves.
Operatives utilize helicopters to scare off other elephants while they move in on their target, which are mainly dependent elephants as young as four years old. One of the calves seen in the footage had its head repeatedly stomped on, smacked and its trunk twisted by its captors.
Fourteen elephants were reportedly captured that day, but the officials originally intended to catch about 26 more elephants. Once captured, the petrified young elephants are then shown flocking to a corner of a holding pen in a restricted area located in Hwange called Umtshibi, a source told The Guardian.
The source claimed that the young elephants are likely to be sold to a Chinese national who allegedly bought 11 malnourished hyenas last year.
According to Shanghaiist, China addressed concerns over the illegal ivory trade in their country as they vowed to eliminate the trade overall.
However, it appears that the trade has moved on to capturing wild elephants instead of just hunting them for their precious tusks.
Cases of capturing elephants might persist, but there’s always a glimmer of hope in situations where baby elephants are given a second chance at life.