Spare us, for one second, any humanist defence for those who poach Africa’s most majestic animals. As these Zimbabwe rangers show, animal cruelty is nothing but an ugly display of barbarism.

The clip – captured by a film crew for The Guardian (UK) and available to view at the bottom of this article – shows a group of rangers hunting elephants for export. They are seen to sedate the endangered creatures, and haul them into the back of a truck.

The most heinous part of the footage comes when two of the rangers strike and kick the distressed elephant as it struggles from its restraints in the vehicle.

Animal export to China

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The Guardian said the latest group of elephants, numbering around 14 in all, was captured on behalf of an unnamed Chinese client. The incident is said to have taken place in August, before recently being uploaded online. There were plans to capture more, but a helicopter used in one of the operations crashed, the paper said.

Blood has very much stained the hands of The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority before. In 2015, they were directly responsible for the export of 25 young elephants to China.

It is a trend that has faced widespread condemnation, yet shows little sign of fading away. In this video footage, the Hwange National Park rangers are up to the same old tricks. The Guardian are confident in their allegations that these elephants are also bound for China.

Protected by the law

Poachers don’t take all the responsibility for their despicable crimes: The people they are exporting these animals must face severe sanctions, too. However, ‘following orders’ has never played out a good excuse over the years, has it?

Poverty stricken or cash-driver, this is a practise that has no place in a modern, civilised society. However, the law’s silence can be so very deafening when it comes to protecting Africa’s big five.

Watch the Zimbabwe rangers beat the elephants here: