Sunday, 13 January 2013


Response from World Citizens for Elephants 13 January 2013
to CITES Secretariat Public Statement issued 11 January 2013

RE: Recent trade of elephants from Zimbabwe to China

Recently caught and transported Zimbabwe elephant calf alone in Chinese Zoo.

To petitioners, interested parties, the CITES Secretariat, Designated CITES Officers and National Authorities in Zimbabwe and China.

We note the Public Statement by The CITES Secretariat in relation to the sale of juvenile elephants from Zimbabwe to China. World Citizens for Elephants (WCE) reject the notion that the sale has been conducted and complies with the Convention, its appendices or resolutions.

The Convention calls for “humane treatment” of animals sold to a facility which must be an “appropriate and acceptable destination”.

It has not been established that the capture, housing, transportation and ongoing treatment of these elephants is humane, nor is there any evidence that the facilities in China are an appropriate and acceptable destination.

We agree that CITES role is, as stated on their own website “...monitoring the implementation of the Convention to ensure that its provisions are respected.” We believe this protection extends to the individual animals affected in this trade.

We therefore call on The Secretariat and its in-country representatives to discharge its duties.

World Citizens for Elephants calls on the CITES Secretariat or its Designated National CITES Authorities in Zimbabwe and China to:

1) In the Public Interest, make available its findings of the investigation (into the sale and permits issued; or in train to be issued, surrounding all of the Zimbabwe elephants caught for the current transactions) and publish the
correspondence that has investigated the following:

a) the capture, including the manner in which the capture occurred and if any elephants, adult or juvenile, were injured or killed in the capture,
b) the adequacy of housing of elephants in Zimbabwe,
c) the manner in which the permits were issued,
d) the circumstances of all transportation of the elephants from the point of capture to the destination zoos including if the air transport was in accordance with IATA guidelines under which Member Parties are bound,
e) the treatment of the elephants throughout the trade process,
f) the circumstances surrounding the death of the individual calf at Taiyuan Zoo  and
g) Whether at any point, the Member Parties responsible – being Zimbabwe and China have breached their duties under the Text of the Convention (including any resolutions or Appendices pertaining).

2) We call on The CITES Secretariat and its Designated Representatives, and National Authorities in Zimbabwe and China to work together to ensure the humane treatment of the elephants in both countries including immediate attendance to the following:

a) that the remaining elephants in Zimbabwe be provided adequate housing food and care,
b) that arrangements be made for their release to a suitable sanctuary for rehabilitation and eventual release to the wild,
c) that the lone elephant remaining at Taiyuan (Performing) Zoo be immediately housed, for its own welfare, with the elephants at Xinjiang Tianshan Safari Park; or, all three be housed at another appropriate and acceptable destination that provides humane treatment; as understood by experts in elephant welfare and handling, and a suitable Animal Welfare organization work with the Chinese Authorities to have the elephants rehabilitated to a sanctuary-like environment for the remainder of their lives.

We look forward to The Secretariat’s response on its own behalf or its CITES Designated Officers behalf.


World Citizens for Elephants


To the Elephant's Supporters

Thank you, World Citizens for Elephants is heartened by the overwhelming public support we have so far received for the elephants caught up in this trade deal and call on all people of compassion around the world to help us to continue to fight for the rehabilitation and release of these elephants and the cessation of trade of elephants to zoos. 


1) Please sign the petition and share widely.

Go to: CITES – Revoke Zimbabwe Elephants Permits

2) Voice your concern to your country’s Ambassadors to Zimbabwe and China. 

Seek their contact details on your country's Consular pages.

Until the CITES Secretariat, Zimbabwe and China Authorities have ensured the humane treatment of the elephants caught up in the kidnap, sale and public exhibition we will not rest.


(1)World Citizens for Elephants is a coalition of interested parties.
See animal performance at Taiyun Zoo