Eden Game Farm, a game farm from Namibia, has been issued permits to sell five elephant calves ranging in age from four to eight years old to a zoo in Dubai, according to a petition on Care2. The sale is to be finalized later this year, once the animals are exported. The game farm is a private establishment located near the Etosha National Park in the Grootfontein district.

The sale has its sad precedent – in 2015, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park sold to China baby elephants, some of which died, while others showed signs of malnutrition and neglect. The sale received heavy criticism from wildlife experts and activists.

According to the Care2 petition, a spokesman for the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) now said that he was not concerned about a similar thing happening in case of the sale of the baby elephants to Dubai, since Eden Game Farm had satisfied all compliance procedures and the elephants are to be inspected prior to the exportation to ensure their good condition. MET has previously sanctioned such projects as the export of 150 wild-caught animals to a zoo in Cuba, a project called “Noah’s Ark II” which was carried out despite a great opposition from many sides.

No matter the attempts at making the move successful, it still is not at all what the five little elephants should experience. These little ones should be with their mothers, learning what it means to survive in their wild environment. As cited by the Care2 petition, elephant expert Joyce Poole emphasizes that separating little elephants from their mothers and herds is simply unethical. “Like us, their emotional well-being depends on being cared for and raised in the context of close family relationships,” Poole said.

Elephants are incredibly social and emotional animals, ones not that terrifically different from us in that respect. They form very strong mother-child bonds and are very dependent on their families. Many studies have found that taking babies from their herd not only affects the young animal but also creates a ripple of trauma throughout the older members as well. When female calves are taken, it throws off the entire matriarchal future for the herd.

There is no benefit to separating the five baby elephants from their mothers to sell them to the zoo – the mothers and their entire herd will experience the loss, and the babies themselves will not have the chance to grow up properly with the emotional support from their families. Instead, they will lead a life of limits and confinement of the zoo, one having nothing to do with real animal conservation.

Take a stand against the export of the five baby elephants – click here to sign the petition and stop Eden Game Farm from selling them to the Dubai Zoo!

Image Source: Petr Kratochvi/publicdomainpictures