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. Charles

    Oh, how sweet! Mugabe and Kim Jong! I'm just glad those two crazy kids found each other.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark Thompson

    I'm sick of these do gooder individuals and organizations always rushing to the aid of animals in post colonial Africa. When Europeans and other profiteers were running amok through out Africa laying waste to every natural resource they could cart out, you couldn't find these folks.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rhodesian

    Oh my much money is the idiot Mugabe getting........typical in Zim nothing is no longer sacred....Mugabe cant even feed his own people let alone pay for shipping......Mugabe is sick and Christina if Mugabe is your hero go and live will last all of 10 mins without your first world comforts and while you there ask a Sogoma for some mootie to clear your head.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vinny

    kinda scary... its as though he know something we don't .... like N. Korea is going to be a safe haven..... Just saying... the whole thing sounds weird. Interesting article... thanks

    May 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stacks Edwards

    Common Sense are you a rapper?

    May 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Judas Iscariot


    May 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnGalt

      So Judas your part of Kim Jung II's arc that match's you with your favorite farm barn babe...the goat. When you and your farm barn female goat are expecting your first born, please send the National Enquirer a picture, I'm sure it'll look and smell just like you. I'll leave your monkey deity alone goat boy.

      May 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eddie Stacker

    I got deleted

    May 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    We should have Mugabe be shipped to North Korea for the Chimp display,and Kim locked up in his own cage on display as an example of a nut case. I totally disagree with this animal shipment to North Korea.Imagine the torture and mal treatment these poor animals will get.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Judas Iscariot


    May 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eddie Stacker

    what happened? My comments were deleted. Where is freedom of speech?

    May 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thomas

    The animals will probably eat better than the N Korean population.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tony L

    Kim Jong will be able to throw a big party with a feast for all his communist party members. They are definitely all very hungry for real meat with sanctions in place. They know this will be a good meal before further sanctions which can starve then.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Katie

    North Korea can't even feed its own people. Nice to know that what they do have will go to the wildlife. On the other hand, maybe Il will use them in a modern day Coliseum. I sure hope there are some lions to feed dissenters to.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tew

    We allow these thugs to treat their people worse than this. Should we be surprised by this action? Two megalomaniac dictators that the world doesn't have the courage to take down.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rhodesian

    Maybe we can ship Sarah Plain in a container for a visit to spread the gospel.

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