Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Born Free Urges Live Elephant Traders to Reconsider

16 June 2017

Categories: Homepage News, Zoo Check Campaign News, Elephants Campaign News

As reported on 18th May Born Free was appalled to hear the news that permits have been issued to allow five young elephants, currently living on the Eden Wildlife game farm in Northern Namibia, to be torn from their families and exported to Safari Park Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

When reports first emerged in 2015 that the new zoo may have been planning to bring in elephants from undisclosed sources, Born Free expressed our deepest concern with the Dubai Municipality, urging them to reconsider.

Born Free is a signatory to a joint letter urging the Swedish owners of the game farm to reconsider the transfers. We are also urging our contacts in the UAE to persuade the authorities there to rethink, and we’re asking our supporters to write to diplomatic representatives of Namibia and the UAE in London.

The five young elephants are reported to be among some 1000 animals belonging to 350 species that will be housed at Safari Park Dubai, which received the first of its animals in 2016. Some are being relocated from other zoos in the region, others will be animals taken from the wild. 

According to news reports, the elephants will eventually be used to offer visitors to the zoo elephant-back rides. On top of the distress the young elephants and their families will have experienced through their removal from the wild, and the stress of holding and transport, the ‘training’ required to ‘tame’ elephants so they can be ridden is brutal, and has been widely condemned.

The proposed transfers come on the back of a number of controversial exports of live elephants to captive facilities in recent years. Eden Wildlife game farm exported 12 to Mexico in 2012. Zimbabwe has captured and exported a large number of young elephants to Chinese zoos, including four in 2012 (three of which died soon after the transfer), 24 in 2015, and more than 30 in 2016. Swaziland exported 18 live elephants to zoos in the United States in 2016.

Under international rules, Namibia is only permitted to trade in its live elephants “for in situ conservation programmes”. This regulation reflects the view of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) African Elephant Specialist Group, which publicly opposes the removal of live elephants from the wild for captive use, believing there is no direct benefit for in situ conservation.

How you can help:

If you’re in the UK, please send a message to the Namibian High Commissioner and the Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates, politely expressing your concern about the proposed transfers, and asking them to reconsider the trade:





Write to one or both Embassies below:

His Excellency Mr Martin Andjaba
Embassy of the Republic of Namibia
1605 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009, USA


Her Excellency Ms. Sabine Böhlke-Möller
Permanent Mission of Namibia to the United Nation in GenevaChemin Louis-Dunant 15 (1st Floor)
1202 Geneva, Switzerland



Ambassador His Excellency Mr Sulaiman Hamid
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
30 Princes Gate
London SW7 1PT



If you’re outside the UK, you can find contact details for the respective embassies or consulates at:

Namibian embassies/consulates:

UAE embassies/consulates: 

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

Share | |