Last year the Zimbabwe government sold 24 wild baby elephants to China. To capture the babies, helicopters were used to stampede an elephant herd, the babies who could not keep up were brought down, chained and forced into cages – babies that were so tiny they were still breastfeeding.
Several months later those babies who survived – we don’t know how many died – were drugged and flown halfway across the world to China where they will be trained to perform circus tricks in a zoo.
It gets even worse. The zoo isn’t even built yet. So the babies have been locked up in a quarantine facility in cages too small for a single elephant, let alone 24. There they will stay for a minimum of two years until the zoo is ready. One baby has already died, all the others are in poor condition and most are unlikely to survive.
Network for Animals is trying to achieve better living conditions for the babies and a law banning the import of any more baby elephants to China.
If they live, they face terrible cruelty as they are trained to perform circus tricks. Elephant behavioural experts say that training elephants to perform tricks always involves cruelty. Usually, the babies are chained and beaten until they respond to a command.
What is happening to the Zimbabwe 23 is unspeakably cruel but Chimelong Zoo, the combined zoo and circus responsible for the performing Asian Elephants pictured in this page, and owners of the Zimbabwe 23, refuses to even talk about what they are doing to the babies behind bars.
We need to let Chimelong Zoo know how we feel. You can leave a comment on its web page. Remember it makes money when people visit the zoo. It can easily afford to provide bigger living space for the babies.
Incredibly, Zimbabwe has announced it intends to sell more baby elephants to China. Animal lovers in China are trying to stop this. Right now, there is a proposal before the National People’s Congress (NPC), the highest organ of state power in China seeking a law banning future baby elephant imports and an improvement in the living conditions of the Zimbabwe 23. Under Chinese laws the government has up to a year to respond. Please sign our petition urging the Chinese government to urgently pass the law.