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.

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Filed under: Animals • North Korea • Zimbabwe
soundoff (752 Responses)
  1. kit8

    Robert Mugabe could do the people of Zimbabwe a huge favour and include himself on that ark. He has done tremendous damage to Zimbabwe's economy, life expectancy, wildlife etc.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Christina

    Stop laughing at me!! STOP IT!!! They're all gonna laugh at you, momma says!! No!! I will dump pigs' blood on all you heathens!!!

    May 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian from Chicago

      Do you hear voices?

      May 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Julian Serna

    Of course, Christina was trying to make a joke, you know grils are not very good at that, sarcasm is not their strong subject

    May 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. beegee

    Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

    I'd personally eat the Zebra first. The others probably don't taste very good.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julian Serna

      Hey Beegee they can spare the tiger, there are no tigers in Africa

      May 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kinyanjui

    Animals? the person who wrote this article and Born free need to just shut up. Why? because mugambe is going to do w/e he wants and, since when did animals become more important than humans. Why don't the author of this article atleast write about the "psychology, emotional and physical well being of a Zimbabwean under mugambe's rule. This is crap.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark

    From the 2 most ignorant and hated dictators on Earth, no one should be suprised. This is only a cover, what are they really sending to North Korea?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      The million dollar question is not whether Christina is an idiot (she already said she was being sarcastic) but the one another poster put up... what are they really putting in the "ark?" Are you going to go digging under a big pile of elephant droppings or swim into the hippo enclosure looking for contraband? Everybody has become so polarized by Christina's sarcasm (however misplaced it may be) that they're missing the big picture.

      May 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TOM


    May 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Geoz

    Yeah... to the Mugabe supporter out there... you may want to look at his friends for ANOTHER reason why he is not viewed favorably. Kim as an ally? Yyou have to be a little crazy to make that choice.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. uhHUh

    MAYBE KIM JONG II KNOWS SOMETHING WE DON'T......I find it ODD, that a 'Noah's Ark" collection of animals would go into the hands of the person most likely to destroy the rest of the world (kinda like the great flood LAST time a collection of animals were gathered for a journey)

    May 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dean

    People WTH????
    this is about the animales welfare not Politics SHEEEESH
    is everyone so hung up about their government or ideals that we cant focus on the issues at hand.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Howie

    Honestly, who cares? They're just animals. Probably end up as dinner anyway. This is not news.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brian from Chicago

    Next: a nativity scene with kidnapped Jews.

    Oh, like I'm so wrong.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ya'll got troll'd so hard

    350+ replies later......

    May 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Revbo

    I give it two weeks before the starving North Koreans eat every last one of Mugabe's "gifts."

    May 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pat

    Hey Kos, delete my *#@%ing..... oh wait....

    May 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
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