Changing Planet

Baby Elephants Held in Zimbabwe Suffering, Expert Says

New photographs of some 80 young elephants that are being held in a heavily guarded facility in Zimbabwe suggest that the elephants are under extreme duress, according to an expert familiar with the animals’ behavior.

The elephants, who were snatched from their families in the wild, are being held in a facility in Hwange National Park. Their captivity is part of a plan by the Zimbabwe government to capture and sell dozens, perhaps hundreds, of young elephants to unidentified foreign buyers.

Read the whole story on National Geographic News. 

Christina Russo is a freelance journalist. For nearly 15 years, she has worked as a producer for a number of public radio programs, including NPR/WBUR’s "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook. Christina also freelances for Yale Environment 360, where her written work focuses mainly on wildlife conservation issues. She is the co-producer, with WBUR, of the nationally syndicated documentary on American zoos, From Cages to Conservation. She has written numerous articles about animals, including a story about caring for donkeys in Ethiopia; a veterinarian saving horses in Sonoma County, CA; an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand; and the work of pre-eminent whale biologist Roger Payne for her hometown newspaper, The Gloucester Daily Times.
  • About Elephants

    A totally biased opinion from a totally biased expert. These elephants look in perfect health and are very alert. I speak as somebody who has worked with the training of wild caught elephants in South Africa and Zimbabwe since 2000. The elephants are not overcrowded and they are being fed well. If Zimbabwe were to cull half the population of her elephants, this would also upset the bunny huggers. Zimbabwe currently has over 85000 elephants when it can only accommodate 40000. If Zimbabwe were to cull the elephants it would cost the country a lot of money. By selling the elephants Zimbabwe is making money which can be pumped into conservation. Wild elephants in Zimbabwe are also being poached at an alarming rate. These elephants are not suffering. Far from it. .

  • Patricia Moe

    If there is a petition/s to sign I will sign immediately. Please direct me their site/s when you have a moment.
    I am heartbroken – I want to help be a voice for the elephants and every other animal suffering in the world. I love them all.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media