In an update to an earlier news post regarding the capture of baby elephants in Zimbabwe for sale to the UAE, China and possibly other countries, PEGAS learned recently during a visit to the UAE that Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was the importer of the 7 elephants that the UAE reported to the media.
PEGAS was told that the 7 elephants had been held in captivity for some time and that they were not part of the group of baby elephants captured in the wild. There is at least one female adult in the group.
The elephants are being held as part of a private collection of wildlife. It is common for wealthy Emiratis to have private zoos and breeding centers, and many individuals keep exotic pets such as cheetahs, tigers and great apes. PEGAS will be publishing a news item shortly on the results of a nine-day visit to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, all Emirates in the UAE. Wildlife trade is rife, though the government is taking steps to curb the fashion trend of owning exotic wild animals. The royal families, naturally, are exempt.
Update 7 April 2015
PEGAS continues to receive erroneous claims that baby elephants from Zimbabwe are still destined for the UAE and that no elephants have yet been sent. The UAE government has yet again substantiated the version PEGAS reported above on 25 March. The elephants are already in the UAE.