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Why Zimbabwe is selling its elephants, lions, rhinos

Carolyn's Travel Stories

Lions, not tigers, elephants, buffalos, rhinos, and a whole lot of other animals in Zimbabwe’s national parks are being put up for sale.

Why you ask?

To save them from a serious drought that is currently sweeping the region.

Zimbabwe has been in a rough patch for a while now, facing hyperinflation that peaked when their local currency’s exchange rate with the US dollar hit 35 quadrillion to 1. This dire economic situation has been greatly exacerbated by the drought which was partly the result of this year’s El Niño cycle.

The drought has devastated food and commercial crops throughout the country leaving 4 million people in need of food aid. It has also has put stress on Zimbabwe’s 10 national parks, which are faced with underfunding and a lack of viable watering holes.

The sale of animals from the national parks is meant to relieve some of the economic and environmental pressure on Zimbabwe’s national parks.

The Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has stated that the animals will be on sale to members of the public who have “the capacity to acquire and manage wildlife”.

Capacity in this case means the having the money, the land, and the will to take in these large animals.

Wildlife groups are not protesting the current plans yet, despite the stir groups caused earlier this year when Zimbabwe exported dozens of elephants to China, where the animals are prized for their tusks.

The lack of a negative reaction could be because the animals sold will hopefully be brought to places where they are cared for and treated humanely.

Due to the overpopulation that the national parks are facing, the alternative to selling the animals is killing them. To cull lion populations authorities have already stated that they may be forced to kill 200 of the noble felines.

So, here’s to hoping that people band together to save Zimbabwe’s invaluable wildlife while the country endures this drought.

In the meantime, it’s unclear whether or not foreigners can buy animals from Zimbabwe, but you can try to contact the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority here and inquire about bidding.