The government of Zimbabwe has sold 24 elephant calves captured late last year in Hwange National Park to China. The young elephants—who were forcibly separated from their families—are headed to what has been described as a “free range setting” in Chimelong Safari Park in Guangdong Province, to be part of a “Zimbabwe Safari experience” for tourists. But there won’t be much ranging, as the park’s total area is said to be only about half a square mile.
Zimbabwe officials claim they will use the money for conservation. The country, however, ranks near the bottom in the world on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index—making it highly doubtful that the Chinese payoff will go to support any meaningful conservation efforts. Regardless, it certainly doesn’t justify the grave psychological toll on the calves and their kin.