Footage of young elephants being captured in Hwange national park in Zimbabwe for what is believed to be legal sales to Chinese zoos. The exclusive footage was given to The Guardian, where 5 young elephants were caught following the usual procedure. The process begins by identifying a herd, then firing one of the baby elephants with sedative, followed by a team tying up the sedated elephant and pulling it onto a trailer while a helicopter hovers close by keeping the rest of the herd from returning to check on the hurt member. The footage reveals very disturbing behavior towards a highly sedated 5 year old elephant where officials hit and kick her on her head and body, twist her truck and drag her by the tail in order to get her back into the truck.
An anonymous source confirmed that up to 40 young elephants captures were planned, however the number was limited to only 14 elephants due to a helicopter crash. Experts on elephant behavior mentioned that the photographs of the elephants indicate that they are huddling together because they are frightened. The young elephants in particular were showing signs of stress behavior such as twisting their trunks, swinging their feet, shaking their heads, and curling their trunks.
A Chinese man was previously connected to a case where 11 hyenas were found at Harare International Airport, in extremely bad health and injury. This man is believed to be behind this case as well, possibly being the buyer of these young elephants.