Zimbabwe plans to relocate more elephants to China

Updated: 2016-01-01 11:21

By Qiu Quanlin in Qingyuan, Guangdong(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Zimbabwe plans to relocate more elephants to China

A group of African elephants at Chimelong national center in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province. [Photo by Qiu Quanlin /chinadaily.com.cn]

More African elephants and other animals from Zimbabwe will be sent to China in the near future to provide them better and safer environment, according to a high-ranking official of Zimbabwe.

"We are happy that young African animals have been well accommodated here in China. We are willing to export more in the years to come as it would help in the preservation of wild animals," said Oppach Muchinguri, Environment Minister of Zimbabwe.

In early 2015, a group of young African elephants were imported from Zimbabwe to a national rare animals and plants provenance center in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, as part of the international African elephant conservation program.

The center is owned by Guangdong-based Chimelong Group, which helped nurture the world's first triplets of giant panda in 2014.

Zimbabwe currently has 85,000 African elephants. But the worsening environment and human activities pose great threats to the elephants, according to Zimbabwe.

"Because of the bad weather, including drought, we cannot keep the large population of elephants any longer. They consume lots of water and they need lots of food, which we cannot afford," she said.

Muchinguri made the remarks during a visit to the Qingyuan animals and plants preservation center on Thursday.

"Our ecosystem cannot accommodate that large number of animals. So we would rather export and sell more elephants and other animals to those willing to take care of them," she said.