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. flint bob

    I thought I Pod's and DVD's were the proper gifts worthy of dignataries?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dale

    I'll bet the little dictator will enjoy those yummy snacks.....BBQ anyone?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sal Gubanali

    Like I said Jungle Bunnies make much better gifts. A bit feisty but able to train and don't eat much.

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

    The one taxidermist in North Korea will be very busy....

    May 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M.M.

    Don't send those poor animals, they don't deserve this. How would you like to be put in a box and then put on a boat for days to a strange country. Hmmmm Think about how the slaves were transported to the so called new world, did they like it? Finally those Koreans won't take care of those animals, they would eat it. They are starving there under teh rule of Kim.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fishbone

    How are they going to feed these animals,when they cannot feed themselves?I see a future food source for the great leader's larder. Yum Yum.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Baronofcheese

    The idiot's finally gone senile....

    May 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Papillon

    Please send Mengistu (Ethiopian dictator hiding under Mugabe's bed) too with the Animals. He must be so bored 20 years in Zimbabwe.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. This thread is going places!

    Sparks outrage: that's definitely one way to describe what happened here!

    May 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dan the man with the plan

    I bet baby hippo is delicious!

    May 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam the ram with the ham

      I can't wait to try baby elephant!!

      May 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      it's best cooked using rain forest wood with a side of panda

      May 18, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob the slob with a knob

      sorry... just caught the naming thread...

      May 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jongwe

    Maybe Mugabe and his cronies should include themselves in the wouldn't that be a gift worth receiving!

    May 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dave

    No need to worry about the animals' health. Most likely they will be used to help with the starvation issues in North Korea. After all, 2 of every animal from Zimbabwe would pretty much equal the country's annual protein consumption for a year...

    May 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pol Pot

    Excellent idea, the Ark will also contain diamonds, and military weapons smuggled
    to North Korea, under the "trojan" horse ARK cover.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Allen

    It reminds me of the time Canada sent a herd of Black Angus cattle to Idi Amin for breeding stock in order to build up their cattle herds. Idi had a barbecue for his friends and slaughtered them all.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Captain D

    God bless Mugabe and Kim for holding true to their Christian values despite the pagan influence of the West. There can be no more Christian thing to do than to pay homage to the story of survival that Noah's Ark represents. I know God will bless these two men and their countries and I know I'll see them in heaven one day.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
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