There’s Now A Ban On Baby African Elephants Being Taken For Zoos
It will now no longer be legal for the endangered creatures to be taken from their homes and exported internationally following a "momentous" decision from the EU.
Previously, African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana were allowed to be exported to "appropriate and acceptable" locations, like China and the US.
However, Defra ministers encouraged the EU to vote in favour of the ban at the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference in Geneva.
Now, trading wild elephants from Africa will only be allowed in "exceptional" circumstances, which will have to be brought before a committee.
This is a huge move from the EU, given that Zimbabwe has captured more than 100 baby elephants and sent them to zoos since 2012, according to Humane Society International.
The legislation won't affect Asian elephants, although they're already more protected against international trade.
The decision was highly contested, with Zimbabwe particularly fighting to block the vote. However, in the end 87 EU delegates were in favour of the decision, while on 29 were against it and 25 abstained.
Audrey Delsink, the wildlife director of HSI's Africa division said: "This is a momentous Cites decision for Africa's elephants".
Although, she added that the move didn't go far enough.
"While it is disappointing that it is not an outright ban on trade in live elephants, the new language adds vital independent oversight and scrutiny," she went on.
"The capture of wild African elephants for export to zoos and other captive facilities is incredibly traumatising for individual elephants as well as their social groups."
The ban was endorsed by many famous faces and activists, including Ricky Gervais and Judi Dench, who signed a letter to the EU's executive branch before it was agreed.
The letter said it would be "obscene for the EU to endorse snatching wild baby elephants and condemning these beautiful leviathans to a life of captive misery."
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