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. DixPix

    Sounds like the lunch buffet at Lil Kim's DPRK Diner just got a little more exotic...

    May 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. American Elephant

    Mugabe is making overtures to Kim Jong Il, who has absolutely nothing to give except missile and nuclear technology, and people are worried about the animals!

    We are doomed!

    May 18, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irony

      he could back their currency and try to truncate some more zeroes off their money...

      May 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stacks Edwards

    Were all gonna die.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stacks Edwards

    Theres nothing to fear except fear itself

    May 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stacks Edwards

    A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Piper

    Christina, have you ever thought of joining the animals for the trip; there's room with the lions.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Just Asking

    This is so stupid, I can't even think of something to say. Oh...I just said it.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. aka

    Chirtina, I think you should join the trip as a independant species

    May 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stacks Edwards

    Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names

    May 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. joe

    Mugabe is the Hitler's twin brother. just look at his face and his mustache, they have the same soul : EVIL ! Mugabe The Black Hitler!

    May 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stacks Edwards

    Lions and Tigers and Bear Oh My!!!! I want to go home with dorothy.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Piper

    Stacks Edwards you're so deep but yet so lonely in the head

    May 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ohmyGODDDDD

    This is a CNN record, I'm stunned. So stunned in fact that I forgot there were even other news stories. I refresh it, then come right back into this topic. Good show, good show.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stacks Edwards

    Thanks you peter crack piper !!!

    May 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Common Sense

    I would just like to thank all who tried to help Christina realize that her religious fundamentalism is the reason that the world is in such disarray. I would furthermore like to advise anyone else reading this that ignorance and complacency is the reason that our country is soon to lose its status as the lone superpower in the world. If you have an opinion, have enough brain power to have actually thought through both sides of the argument without bias so that the solution that makes sense can prevail. I do not like it when unintelligent people use religion as a guise for their lack of critical thinking ability.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
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