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NaturePolicies & PoliticsWar & Conflict

Elephants Slaughtered to Feed Soldiers in Zimbabwe

pack of elephants at watering hole in zimbabwe

Faced with skyrocketing inflation, a tanking economy, and incredible political instability, the government of Zimbabwe is turning to elephant meat in a desperate attempt to feed hungry soldiers.

A senior officer in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces told ZimOnline that Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority struck a deal resulting in the slaughter of elephants to feed soldiers at army barracks across the country. The officer, who remained anonymous, said there were six elephant carcasses delivered to military barracks last week and that the delivery was a welcome relief.

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The ZDF has been instrumental in keeping embattled President Robert Mugabe in power, despite his having lost in a general election to the main opposition party of Morgan Tsvangirai in April of 2008. But the economic turmoil in Zimbabwe is putting considerable strain on a government that had little money to effectively govern in the first place.

Jonny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told the BBC that the ZDF actually began feeding elephant meat to their soldiers back in June. that army contracts to supply beef to feed soldiers had been canceled and the use of elephant meat had been stepped-up because “It is cheaper and easier to use elephant meat.”

Zimbabwe’s elephant population is estimated to be somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 and the sanctioned thinning of elephant herds is commonplace. Official government estimates are on the higher end of that range and they justify their culling practices as a necessary part of managing a healthy ecosystem.

The ruling government in Zimbabwe has yet to comment on the issue.

Image: kevinzim via flickr under a Creative Commons License




7 comments
  1. Grey Ghost

    why is this even news i know that certain elephants are hunted legally for food and to manage what reasources are left 4 them ,too many elephants can eat them selves to starvation so a person with a big gun, some bullets and a permit from the country on which the elephant with be hunted is all that is really required and a hunt such as this usually results in management of the herd and the feeding of near by villagers

  2. Jane

    In my opinion the most pressing issue is the threat from space, I know people generally dont know or dont want to know but if a large asteroid (near earth object) hit us with no warning we would be toast. Yes the chances are small but the outcome dosent bare thinking about and our governments are doing very little about this.
    We need to pressure our governments into doing alot more. (dont believe me just google nasa neo, spaceguard, or asteroid threat.

  3. Alex Felsinger

    Clyde,

    Slaughtered is the proper term for killing an animal to use its flesh for food. There’s nothing dramatic about it.

    -Alex

  4. clyde

    i have read the article twice. i still don’t understand the basis for the word “slaughtered.” seems inappropriately dramatic to me.

    is there a real basis for this article to be published? if it doesn’t document a real problem (which it appears to miss the mark), and further doesn’t even provide a solution for its perceived problem – isn’t the article actually creating CO2 through datacenters worldwide for no good reason?

    the author should be more consistent in his mantra.

  5. Jd'A

    Soldiers eat elephant meat. Fine, there’s a lot of it.
    What would they be eating if they were not in the army?
    What DO the civilians have available for protein in their diet?

  6. muigwithania

    imbabwean forces can eat as many elephants as they like .The Elephants belong to Zimbabwe not the West.On more important issues .!The war in the Middle East, in Gaza to be precise has been spared by many critics whom we have seen raise their heads in the Zimbabwean situation.The silence from the men of cloth: Archbishops John Sentamu and Desmond Tutu is almost deafening. We have also not heard any comments from many of those people who called for armed invasion in Zimbabwe; including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

    It is ironic that the Archbishop of York, Sentamu in February 2003, while thousands marched in London, led church-wide protests in Birmingham against the invasion of Iraq. “There is no moral basis for a military invasion of Iraq,” he said at the time.In his eyes Saddam Hussein was a Santa type figure for Iraqis, but he fails to call for such protests against the wanton killing of innocent civilians in Gaza.Even the UN has spoken against the shelling of its school where 400 innocent civilians perished overnight.

    In 2007, Archbishop Sentamu led Easter Prayers for the safety of BBC’s Alan Johnston from captivity in Gaza.
    When Johnston was released alive, Sentamu pounded an African drum to celebrate Johnson’s release. “I just wanted to say ‘Alleluia!’… This is the best news we’ve had for a long time,” he declared then. Note he said: “We have heard”. Who is “we”?Last year, Archbishop Desmond Tutu undeterred, made a forced rare crossing into Gaza from Egypt where he had been sent by the UN council to investigate the Israeli shelling of a house in Gaza, despite Israel’s attempts at gagging him.He emerged from his interviews in what he described as a state of shock and called for an end to the “abominable” Israeli blockade of Gaza. He later reported to the UN there was a “possibility” that the shelling was a war crime.

    After calling for a military invasion of Zimbabwe, just a few weeks ago, it would be out of place for the Archbishop to repeat such a feat; otherwise it would be hypocritical.Surely Archbishop Tutu finds it difficult to now call the current illegal Gaza offensive a war crime, because of his hardline position on Zimbabwe. He has lost his independence to make informed commentaries.
    The statement from the Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, in response to Israel’s disproportionate attack on Gaza, left a lot to be desired. He said: “The Botswana position is that we don’t need war.”“War has never brought any solution to problems. The downside about war is that it affects innocent elderly people, women and children, not those who initiate it”.

    This was an immediate turnaround from a country that only a few weeks ago was on BBC’s Hard Talk programme calling for military action against, and economic isolation of Zimbabwe.

    The minister, even interrupted his holiday in his native North East District, to emphasize Botswana’s view that both parties “must learn to talk” to resolve their differences – something he desires for the Middle East, not his own African continent.“If people have mouths and brains but decide to fight, then there is real poverty in their thinking,” he said in an ironical twist on his own suggestion of war against Zimbabwe. “Neither Israel nor Gaza will disappear if both parties engage in dialogue, as opposed to war,” he said.Kenyan Prime Minister, Odinga was caught napping after making noises about the need for war in Zimbabwe.Hundreds of protestors gathered outside Nairobi’s Jamia Mosque after Friday prayers, calling Prime Minister Odinga to cut ties with Israel as a sign of Kenya’s commitment to human rights.“Over 400 Gazans were killed. Where is our … prime minister? Why are they not speaking about what is happening to Palestinians in Gaza?” said Sheikh Al Amin Kimathi, the chairman of Kenya’s Muslim Human Rights Commission.

    “Kenya must denounce its relationship with Israel. We call upon the government of Kenya to close Israel’s embassy in Nairobi,” he added.Odinga failed to issue a single statement against Israeli attacks. This would have put in direct confrontation with President George W. Bush who blames Hamas for the conflict in the Gaza area.Odinga’s lack of response was, therefore, not surprising.Maybe it is important to remind our leaders that the societies they try to please will never fully accept them and they should start to get realistic about how to solve African problems.
    Archbishop Sentamu should know better. Many times he has encountered Britain’s uglier, racist face.

    The very first time he took a funeral, the son of the deceased asked: “What has my father done to be buried by a black monkey?” In the 1980s, the National Front tried to burn down his house.

    When he lived in London, he was stopped by the Metropolitan Police six times in eight years under their stop-and-search policy. Yet, he still tries hard to use arguments against his own people to advance Western interests

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