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A game farm in Namibia has been issued permits to sell five baby elephants to a zoo in Dubai. The elephants range in age from four to eight years old.

The sale, at an undisclosed price, will be finalised later this year when the elephants are exported.

baby elephants, China zoo
The sale of baby elephants from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to a Chinese zoo in 2015 received heavy criticism ©Chunmei Hu/Nature University

A spokesman for the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has confirmed that all CITES requirements have been met for the issue of export permits, and that the United Arab Emirates CITES Scientific Authority has issued the necessary permits for importation of the elephants.

Eden Game Farm is a private game farm and registered game dealer in the Grootfontein district, near Etosha National Park. The farm is owned by a Swedish national.

The sale of baby elephants from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to China in 2015 attracted heavy criticism from wildlife experts and activists alike, after some elephants died and others showed signs of malnutrition and neglect.

The MET spokesman said he was not concerned about the same happening in this instance, as Eden Game Farm had satisfied all the relevant compliance procedures. He said that the baby elephants would be kept in isolation after capture, and inspected prior to exportation to make sure they are in good condition. He also explained that baby elephants need to be tamed after being separated from their parents, to reduce the stress.

MET previously sanctioned the export of 150 wild-caught animals (including elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards) to a zoo in Cuba, a project dubbed ‘Noah’s Ark II’, which proceeded despite significant opposition from many quarters.

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