May 18th, 2010
01:28 PM ET

Mugabe's 'Noah's Ark' gift to Kim Jong Il sparks outrage

Robert Mugabe, right, is said to be giving two of every species in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to North Korea's Kim Jong Il.

The British conservation group Born Free has joined the outcry against a plan by Zimbabwe to ship a “Noah’s Ark” of wildlife, including two young elephants, to North Korea.

News reports last week said the animals, reportedly two of every species in Zimbabwe’s 14,600 square kilometer Hwange National Park, are to be a gift from Zimbawean President Robert Mugabe to his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Il.

“We can see no conservation benefit to these plans, and are concerned about the substantial threat to the welfare of the individual animals involved,” Born Free said in a statement on its website.

The group said the 18-month-old elephants are unlikely to fare well during the approximate 7,000 mile trip and afterward when they get to North Korea.

“Baby elephants normally continue to suckle from their mothers for 4 years, so removal at this young age could have a severe physical impact in terms of nutrition, immunity and other developmental issues. It is also certain to have a huge impact on the emotional and social development of the young animals,” the group’s statement said.

Other animals to be included in the transfer include black and white rhinos, cheetahs, lions, leopards, giraffes and zebras, according to news reports.

Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said teams of trappers are working in the Hwange park around the clock to fulfill the Mugabe order, according to a report in The Zimbabwean newspaper. He said his group was trying to enlist international influence to block the transfer.

North Korea’s zoos do not meet international standards, he said.

Born Free agreed. “Our fear is that the facilities in North Korea would fall far short of even the most basic requirements for the physical and psychological well-being of the animals,” the organization said.

But according to a report from The Standard newspaper in Zimbabwe, the country’s parks chief, Vitalis Chadenga, said Zimbabwe is sending experts to North Korea to be sure the animals are properly cared for.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • North Korea • Zimbabwe
soundoff (752 Responses)
  1. Carl

    So, if I understand this ... gesture ... Mugabe is shippping two of every animla he can find in Zimbabwe to a country that cannot feed its own population, but his representatives are going to assure all of us that the animals will be well cared for?

    Oh, and Christina, the myth of the Ark was about saving animals, not making petty African dictators feel good.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PDXSerric

    Christina admitted she was being sarcastic. The truth is this little "gift" is far more troubling than the safety and sanitation of these animals. Both are despots. Tyrannical leaders with a shared vision of might makes right. Strategically speaking, if Kim Jong Il manages to get nuclear weapons shipped to or produced in Africa, he’ll have a beat on most of Western Europe and the US easily. And there are PLENTY of places to hide a silo in Africa. The UN needs to separate these two and keep them separated. The risk is simply too great.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Edie

    These animals probably won't survive the trip and who knows what they are going to be put through. Bad mistake
    to move these animals.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack Perry

    It is a long time before we get to the November elections and I believe people are wrong when they think that the
    Republicans will roll over and take control of either House of Congress. A lot can happen in the next six months
    to cause people to change the way they are thinking at this time. Every election era has surprises and i believe
    there will be one before the November election.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KR

    why can't Kim Jong II enjoy his own elephants? oh that's right, North Korea doesn't have native elephants; Zimbabwe should mail some to him! Mugabe can have them wrapped up in boxes and shipped the 7000 miles by air. that's a horrible idea! 18 month old elephants will never survive that kind of journey–especially after they touch down in an alien location without the care and protection of their herd. ...oh wait, that's exactly what they plan to do? what happens between Zimbabwe and North Korea when this 'biblical gift' dies in captivity 7000 miles from their natural habitat?

    May 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. frances

    oh my goodness this is preposterous. The inflation rate of zimbabwe is 516 quintillion percent. The people are starving and migrating to other parts of africa and are victims of xenophobia and Mr mugabe wants to build a what... and for who a gift? Lord haver mercy! Leave the animals alone and build an ark for your self and ship your craziness to North Korea. Infact dont wait for the rain, use your jet and put the ark with you in it. And you call your self president. Idiot.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam16

      couldnt agree more-off with his head (apologies to Lewis Caroll)!!

      May 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick

    It's good to be dictator.

    Let them showboat. I'm sure their citizens appreciate it.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Canopy

    Such a reactionary bunch!

    May 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michelle

    The writers of this article called the gift a "noah's ark" of animals.. that doesn't mean that Mugabe means for it to have any biblical conatation at all. I am a believer in God but that really has nothing to do with this issue at all. The issue isn't that he's sending 2 of each animal like Noah put in the ark.. it's that he's sending them in the first place!! Look past the writers interpretation of the events and focus on the actual issue.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MBelnay


    Apparently god thinks it is okay to destroy your country...starve your people to the point where they are forced to eat their house pets...torture those that oppose you and watch what was once an amazing country go down the are the reason people look at religious people with such disdain...educate yourself...and have your faith...being enlightened means that both god and your own mind view the atrocites of the world and make a difference if you are a simpleminded idiot...go have dinner with mugabe and the little dictator and see if god pulls up a chair...the god i know and follow would order out...

    May 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXSerric

      She stated she was being sarcastic.... people need to read ALL of the comments in here, not just leap to attack the first one they come across.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcasstrickho

      The god I know doesn't exist because too many horrible things happen in the world. If god exists and made man in the image of him self then he really must be a hatefilled crazed maniac that wants only praise for him self. Sounds just like a man created religion.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • I love hating

      She could be like the majority of Americans who worship foxnews. She could be just uninformed. I dont hear about Mugabe a lot. I hear more about Iron Man 2.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nate

    $10 says they eat the animals.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. travelingal808

    Come on folks, we all know that Mugabe is sending the animals to help out with the food shortage in North Korea. Neither of these dictators value human life, so why would we think they would value an animal???

    May 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Juan Carlos de Burbon

    He's trading the animals for nuclear weapons technology.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Noisy

    So Mugabe decided to step up and try to solve the DPRK's food shortage by sending a variety of animals...don't be surprised if there is a national food day declared there, with a parade by 40 year old tanks and plastic missles.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hurp Durp I'm Christina too

    I don't think Christina posted she was kidding, someone more than likely just changed their named and posted 'as christina' saying it was a joke. I WANT to believe she was kidding but I SWEAR deep down, I almost feel it may have been serious. I WANT TO BELIEVE.

    If trollin: Queen of the Trolls
    If serious: More reason to hate religious logic.

    Whoever wins, we all lose.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29