Harare - A video has emerged of Zimbabwean parks rangers in the main Hwange National Park capturing young wild elephants, allegedly for export to China.
The video, published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, provides a rare insight into a practice that has been condemned by animal rights groups.
The paper claimed the capture took place on August 8. That claim has not been verified.
In the first part of the video, national parks staff are seen running through the bush to reach a sedated young elephant. Then the animal is wrapped in tarpaulin, bound with ropes, and loaded onto a tractor-drawn trailer.
Another part of the video shows parks officers kicking, slapping and tugging a 5-year-old female elephant, still groggy from sedation, to get her to move onto a truck.
The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has not yet commented on the video.
It has in the past shipped elephants to Chinese zoos. In July 2015, around 25 young elephants were exported amid an international outcry.
The Guardian said the latest group of elephants, numbering around 14 in all, was captured on behalf of an unnamed Chinese client.
There were plans to capture more, but a helicopter used in one of the operations crashed, the paper said.
Zimbabwean state media reported on the non-fatal crash of a national parks helicopter in the park on August 23, but gave no further details.