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. 400

    You are kidding me. If this thread hits 400, I'm personally driving to Christina's house and giving her a Troll of the Year Trophy. It'll be called a 'Trollphy'.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trollatron

    ITT: All your animal are belong to Kim.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kisumu11

    Most of you people have not been to Africa and dont even have a clue about who Mugabe is. He is surely a despot who does not care about anything or anyone but himself and his cronies. This move is extremely foolish and totally ridiculous and those who support it fall into that category

    May 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. is this CNN or the Onion??

    This has got to be a joke, right? I’m reading the Onion, not CNN – right?! I don't know what's funnier Kim Jong Il accepting the ‘gift’, Magabe for giving it or Magabe's daughter “Christina” and whacked out comment! Calgon take me away.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    It is stupid to bring in religion to this news. Neither one of the dictator is known for as a good "ruler". For that matter, they are both nut-cases. So, who cares about "biblical" implication? Kim is a known oppressor of religion. As for Mugabe: he has nothing to be proud of as far as his education goes.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ben

    How is North Korea supposed to support these animals when they cannot even support their people. By support, I mean feed and keep from starving.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. david lee roth

    Animals in exchange for nuclear weapons deal ...

    May 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. FredHere

    Think about it though....where would those animals be better off.....Ziimbabwe wouldn't be MY 1st choice to call home.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papillon

      I think the animals are doing fine in Zimbabwe. If they are not, I don't think shipping them to Kim is the most effective and efficient strategy to deal with it.Try to look what is behind the stage. Stupid.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tm

    Christina's sin is that she is ignorant and is behind on current events. I don't believe she knows who Mugabe is and does not understand why everyone is upset with her. Someone please educate her.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol they mad

      Some people just have no hope left. I'm afraid her chance at education has long since passed.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ME3

    I wonder how much uranium is being sent with these animals

    May 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Captain D

    The people of N. Korea are not starving. That's just US propaganda. Stop believing every stupid thing your government tells you. They told you WMD's were in Iraq.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Are you kidding me?

      Clearly you must be related to Cristina~

      May 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Who is this nut cases claiming that there is no famine in North Korea? It is not only US goverment, UN organizations and other goverments are sending aid. Being sceptical about the propaganda is one thing but being plain IGNORANT is another. Wake up! man.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. edith

    If the people of North Korea are starving, how on earth can they feed the elephants?!

    May 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Henry

    Another non-news story....I thought CNN stood for Cable NEWS Network....

    May 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J. Jeffrey

    Yo Christina........

    I wonder what kind of sauce Kim Jong is going to use – when He barbaques those elephant ribs??! They're very tasty, you know.....

    May 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Stacks Edwards

    What a nice gesture. This warms my heart to know that people in the world actually care. And such a noble person to receive such gifts.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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