HOLLYWOOD star and former James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan, has called on fans to protest the planned export of wild elephants from Zimbabwe to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China.
Brosnan, a long-standing campaigner for animal rights, said he was “deeply saddened” to read the “gruesome story” that 36 baby elephants had been taken from their mothers and were awaiting shipment “to the UAE and possibly China”.
The Bond actor posted a link to the Telegraph’s report about the export on his Facebook page and urged followers to write to the Zimbabwean government to express their outrage.
“We need your help and voices to protect these babies and to stop this shipment of wildlife cargo,” he wrote.
“Please contact the Zimbabwe Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere and ask that he release these majestic endangered animals at once.”
Brosnan shared the environment minister’s Twitter and Facebook contact details, as well as a suggested Twitter hashtag, #ZimbabweElephants (sic).
The hashtag has already become popular, having had about 86 000 impressions in a 15-minute spell yesterday afternoon on Twitter.
The plight of Zimbabwean elephants has in the past attracted international attention, with Welsh footballer Aaron Ramsey saying he was shocked at stories of the animals being poisoned for their ivory. Kasukuwere responded by inviting the Arsenal star to Zimbabwe.
Kasukuwere admitted to The Telegraph earlier this month that elephants were being rounded up in Hwange National Park in the west of the Southern African country. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said visitors witnessed the capture of young elephants by government helicopters and ground teams, who roped them together after separating them from their mothers by firing shots above the heads of the herd.
The Telegraph obtained photographs of an unknown number of elephants being held in wooden pens in a compound in Hwange administered by Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped parks authority. Kasukuwere said it was normal for wildlife to be captured in the country’s largest game reserve and exported “from time to time”.
But he denied reports the animals were destined for Chinese zoos, saying they were headed to the UAE.
— Telegraph/Staff Reporter