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By Wallace Mawire

The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry under the
Parliament of Zimbabwe will today receive oral evidence from the Advocates4Earth petition on the
wildlife capture, trade and transparency.
The petition was submitted by Advocates4Earth (then known as People and Earth Solidarity law
network) concerning the capture, trade and transparency on Zimbabwe’s wild elephants and other
wildlife.
The petition was submitted in March 2019.
According to the organisation, subsequently, a number of events have happened such as speedy and
almost stealth export of around 35 elephants to Middle east and Asian destinations.
It is added that subsequent to the petition has also been the 18th Meeting of the Conference of
Parties to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES CoP18) which resolved to stop the export of wild elephants outside the natural range states.
For instance, African elephants will no longer be permitted to be exported outside Africa from
October 2019.
The meeting was held in Geneva Switzerland and Advocates4Earth as a CITES accredited
organisation managed to participate in the meeting, represented by two delegates.
The organisation says that as 2020 begins, the Parliament has long resolved to hear oral evidence on
the petition.
It is added that this is exactly 12 months later.

However, Advocates4Earth says that it will still attend and make oral submissions as well as give an
update on the implications of events outlined above which occurred after the petition was
submitted.
The petition was drafted with the support of fraternal environmental and wildlife organisations in
Zimbabwe, which include the Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe (VAWZ), Zimbabwe
Elephants Foundation, Sibanye Animal Welfare and Conservancy Trust (SAWC), Voices for African
Wildlife (VFAW), Tikobane Trust and the Zimbabwe Youth Biodiversity Network (ZYBN).
The petitioners called upon the Parliamentary Committee to work on, or summon concerned
Stakeholders such as Advocates4Earth, VAWZ, SPCA, Ministry of Environment, Zimparks to appear
and discuss the following issues, the need to declare and protect the constitutionally guaranteed
right of every citizen right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future
generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that promote conservation and the
protection of the constitutional right of every citizen to access information and the statutory right of
every person to access to environmental information and to transparent public finance management
the release and rehabilitation (where necessary) of the 34 young elephants currently being held at
Mchibi, Hwange National Park.

It is reported that zccess to these animals is imperative to assess first hand their status with a view
to their rehabilitation versus free and soft release needs and therefore the cost thereof.
The declaration that captured wildlife will only be sent to approved habitats that must fall within
that species existing ‘home range’ states and may not include any captive locations.
It is added that furthermore, any wildlife capture operations must conform to acceptable welfare
standards and ethics and should be monitored by a qualified person/s.
Animal welfare experts must be given access to any captured wildlife to ensure that their welfare is
maintained and any issues are addressed immediately.
It is added that the current capture policy is incompatible with eco-tourism.
It is added that a firm commitment must be undertaken, by legislation, to work towards a conducive
space for genuine eco-tourism within Zimbabwe, moving away from the current situation where
Zimbabwe finds itself under constant international pressure from animal welfare groups and the
public at large who are strongly opposed to actions that are deemed cruel and unethical and are in
contravention of own Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
It is reported that Zimbabwe has the capacity to be the region’s top tourism destination but
thousands of tourists, who would otherwise be filling the coffers of Zimparks, are choosing other
destinations because of these issues.
“We believe that this is where the funding for PWMA should be derived from going forward. We
need to brand and market our magnificent Parks to ensure their future self-sufficiency,” the
organisation said.

Advocates4Earth is a non-profit environmental law, climate and wildlife justice organisation. The
organisation is registered as a trust under Deed Number MA 000133/2019 under the name The
People and Earth Solidarity Law Network.
In September 2019, the organisation’s name was changed to Advocates4Earth and a Deed of
Amendment was subsequently filed and registered under Deed Number MA 0002150/2019.
Advocates4Earth brings together environmental advocates, lawyers, researchers, environmentalists,
scientists, conservationists and volunteers concerned with environmental law, climate and wildlife
justice.

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