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Zimbabwean soldiers being fed elephant meat.

Byline: ANI

London, Jan 10 (ANI): A wildlife campaigner has told the BBC News that Zimbabwean soldiers are being given elephant meat for their rations.

Jonny Rodrigues, from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said that several soldiers had complained to him that the only meat being given them was that of elephants.

Zimbabwe is believed to have some 100,000 elephants, which are more than its parks can sustainably hold and its economy is in freefall.

According to Rodrigues, army contracts to supply beef to feed soldiers had been cancelled.

Rodrigues said that the use of elephant meat began in June last year, but has recently increased.

"It is cheaper and easier to use elephant meat," he said.

A Zimbabwean website quoted an unnamed senior army officer in Harare as saying, "Soldiers started eating elephant meat last week."

The officer said that the meat was a welcome relief, with the website saying soldiers had previously only been given sadza (maize-meal porridge) to eat.

Zimbabwe's national parks have the capacity for 45,000 elephants and the population is culled to contain numbers.

The defence ministry has not yet commented on the reports. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jan 10, 2009
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