Zimbabwe to sell endangered elephants for hunts to raise money lost during Covid
Around 500 elephants could be killed under the current plans
Zimbabwe is reportedly planning to sell rights to shoot up to 500 elephants in an attempt to re-gain some of the money lost in the tourism industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This move could see hundreds of elephants killed during the upcoming hunting season, as a result of the sharp fall in visitor numbers to Zimbabwe's national parks due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Tinashe Farawo, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told CNN that the decrease in funds earned by the tourist sector was one of the main reason for the plans.
He said: "We eat what we kill. We have a budget of about $25 million for our operations which is raised - partly - through sports hunting, but you know tourism is as good as dead at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic."
Speaking to ITV News, Farawo said: "We have a bad need for more money.
"We are not supported by central government so we need this tourism."
Farawo told ITV News that elephants will cost approximately $10,000, which equates to around £7,200.
He said that hunting happens annually during the country's "dry season".
Simiso Mlevu, a spokesperson for the Center for Natural Resource Governance, an environmental and human rights advocacy group based in Zimbabwe, told CNN that the hunting proposals were "appalling".
"We strongly condemn trophy hunting, a practice that agitates wild animals and escalates human-wild life conflicts," she said.
Some people seem horrified by the hunting plans by Zimbabwe National Park officials, and have taken to social media platforms to express their views.
One Twitter user said: "The Elephant hunt is on in Zimbabwe. There are other methods of distracting elephants from human populations without hunting them down. Disgraceful!"