A ban has been approved on baby African elephants being exported to zoos, except under specific circumstances.
A huge move has been made by the EU which now makes it illegal for the endangered African elephants to be taken away from their homes and be exported internationally.
It was encouraged by the Defra ministers to vote in favour of the ban when at a conference in Geneva at the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Before this ban, it was common for African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana to be exported to “appropriate and acceptable” locations such as the US and China.
However, there will be certain exceptions to the law, with the trading of wild elephants being allowed when the circumstances are brought forward to a committee.
This new ban will not affect Asian elephants, who currently have more protection under international trade laws.
Wildlife director of HSI’s Africa division, Audrey Delsink said: “This is a momentous Cites decision for Africa’s elephants.
“While it is disappointing that it is not an outright ban on trade in live elephants, the new language adds vital independent oversight and scrutiny.
“The capture of wild African elephants for export to zoos and other captive facilities is incredibly traumatising for individual elephants as well as their social groups.”
According to the Humane Society International, more than 100 baby elephants from Zimbabwe have been exported to zoos since 2012.
Zimbabwe was in disagreement with the new bill and fought angrily to block this vote. However, the EU delegations were in favour and 87 voted in favour, 25 abstained and 29 were against it.
Many famous faces and activists such as Ricky Gervais and Judi Dench promoted the ban, signing a letter to the EU’s executive branch before it was officially agreed.
The letter stated it would be “obscene for the EU to endorse snatching wild baby elephants and condemning these beautiful leviathans to a life of captive misery.”