Zimbabwe is set to export wildlife to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gambia, the Environment Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has said.
Muchinguri told The Source that the two countries recently sent special envoys to President Robert Mugabe to forward their requests to purchase Zimbabwe’s wildlife.
“We have received orders to purchase wild animals from DRC and Gambia. Most former French countries (Gambia is a former British colony) lost a substantial number of wildlife due to poaching and we will work with these countries so that we all benefit,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She did not say which species will be sold. In January this year, the Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe announced that it had sold 35 elephants to China on December 23 last year to ease overpopulation and raise funds for conservation, sparking an outcry from environmental activists.
Muchinguri- Kashiri said selling wildlife is a government policy.
“We don’t sell our wildlife because there is drought, it’s a government policy that when we receive a request from a friendly country, we sell or donate to these countries as sustainable effort to build capacities of communities and organizations where these animals are found.
“We may accelerate in drought situations where possible,” she said. Zimbabwe is home to some the world’s largest population of wildlife species such as lions, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, leopards, kudu and rhino.