Zimbabwe defend plan to sell elephants from Hwange
Zimbabwe has defended plans to sell elephants for up to $40,000 (£26,000) each, saying it needs the money to run its biggest game reserve.
An official said more than 60 elephants could be sold to buyers in China, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, a campaign group condemned the plan as inhumane.
Some groups fear that African elephants could become extinct because of an increase in poaching.
Geoffreys Matipano, conservation director at Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authorities, said the money raised could help meet the $2.3 million annual running costs of the Hwange National Park, Bloomberg news agency reports.
The money would also help fight poachers, Mr Matipano said.
Last year 293 elephants were killed by poachers using cyanide poisoning, and this year 139 have been killed, he said.
Mr Matipano said buyers from France were seeking 15 elephants, China 27 and UAE 15. He did not name the buyers.