x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ministry of Environment and Water confirms order for elephants

The Ministry of Environment and Water has confirmed that it has placed an order for seven elephants from Zimbabwe.

ABU DHABI // The Ministry of Environment and Water has confirmed that it has placed an order for seven elephants from Zimbabwe.

The elephants, scheduled to arrive in the UAE soon, are of different ages and from one family group. It includes a calf accompanied by its mother.

Under the laws of Cites, a long-standing treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife from over-exploitation, the UAE has been following regulations since it signed the treaty and created accompanying federal laws in 2002. The ministry said it had followed Cites procedures to import the seven elephants and coordinated with the Scientific Authority in the Environment Authority – Abu Dhabi, to place the animals in an endangered species care and protection conservatory. It said the elephants were not captured in the wild and had been living in captivity for many years.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment and Water denied that the orders included any other species as had been circulated in other news agencies, which reported 34 baby elephants, seven lion cubs and 10 rare sable antelope.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe’s government admitted that it had been capturing baby elephants from the wild for export, according to The Telegraph.

Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, told the newspaper that the animals were destined for the UAE.

Last week, SANews, an online news and media aggregator, reported that “dozens of baby elephants and other wild animals are being abducted from Hwange National Park”.

The ministry disputed the reports, and refused to provide additional information about the placement of the elephants, saying an announcement would be made soon.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae