ANIMAL WELFARE

Pamela Anderson urges Xi Jinping to halt baby elephant imports to China

Former Baywatch star writes to Chinese president saying that, as a mother, she finds plight of elephant calves captured in Zimbabwe 'heartbreaking'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 3:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 5:31pm

Actress Pamela Anderson has called on President Xi Jinping to ban the import to China of baby elephants snatched from the wild in Zimbabwe.

Anderson – an honorary director of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) - described the plight of the elephants as “heartbreaking” in a letter the Chinese leader.

The planned sale of the baby elephants has drawn global condemnation and created a social media storm following the publication of leaked images showing about 80 of the animals in heavily guarded holding pens in Hwange National Park, the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa.  

In the letter Anderson asks China to follow in the footsteps of France, which in February cancelled plans to import up to 20 of the elephants captured in Zimbabwe. Some of the elephants are also destined for a life in captivity in the United Arab Emirates.

“As a mother, I have been deeply upset by the heartbreaking news about the 80 or so baby elephants who were torn away from their families, many even witnessing their own family's gruesome slaughter," writes Anderson. "Please prioritize the welfare of these helpless baby elephants by banning their importation into your country …. Every compassionate soul across the globe will appreciate your kind-hearted decision."

According to an online Peta petition, one of the baby elephants has died.

Peta says: “There are also plans to capture hundreds more elephants for zoos abroad. The sale and export of these elephants violates the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which prohibits any export that is 'detrimental to the survival of [the] species' as a whole and only authorizes the trade in live elephants from Zimbabwe to 'appropriate and acceptable destinations'.”

Anderson, best known for her role as a lifeguard in the long-running American television series Baywatch, has also written to Zimbabwe's environment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, asking him to stop the export of elephant calves from Zimbabwe.