Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan has asked his 795,900 Facebook fans to help return 36 baby elephants to Zimbabwe after they were exported to the Middle East and China.
On his Facebook page, the James Bond star wrote: "Dear Friends, I am deeply saddened to learn that 36 baby elephants have been brutally taken from their mothers and are currently awaiting shipment to the UAE and possibly China. We need your help and voices to protect these babies and to stop this shipment of wildlife cargo.
"Please contact the Zimbabwe Minister of the Environment, Saviour Kasukuwere and ask that he release these majestic endangered animals at once. You can tweet him at @Hon_Kasukuwere or contact him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kasukuwere and #ZimbabweElephants"
According to the Daily Telegraph, tourists witnessed the elephants being rounded up in the Hwange National Park after shots were fired above the herd to separate the infants from their mothers.
Kasukuwere admitted to the newspaper that the animals were for export and said it was normal "from time to time".
Elephants are intensely social mammals. The emotional bond between mothers and their young lasts for years, and they are known to suckle their offspring for five years.
Research in 2013 revealed that elephants grieve like humans and the damaging effects of losing a parent stays with them for decades.
Researchers at the University of Sussex have found that elephants shed tears.
The study found that African elephants that were orphaned after their parents were killed in a cull in the Kruger National Park in the 1970s and 1980s are still suffering post-traumatic stress.
Speaking to Science Magazine, neuroscientist Lori Marino said: "It is a groundbreaking study, because it is the first to demonstrate, experimentally, a direct connection between the effects of culling and specific psychosocial harms.
"It shows unequivocally that elephants are psychologically damaged by culling."
The elephants were compared to a population of undisturbed and unculled herds.
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