Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of $2.7 million (about R38 million) over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said, citing overpopulation.
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo told AFP Zimbabwe's elephants were overcrowding national parks, encroaching into human settlements, destroying crops and posing a risk to human life.
"We have 84 000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 50 000," he said, justifying the sales. "We believe in sustainable use of resources, so we sell a few elephants to take care of the rest.
Farawo said 200 people have died in "human-and-animal conflict" in the past five years, "and at least 7 000 hectares of crop have been destroyed by elephants".
The animals' natural habitat has been depleted by climate change, he added, while recurrent droughts have added to strain on the overburdened national parks, forcing the pachyderms to seek food and water further afield.