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. Travis

    First of all–Christina, just don't (I can only echo Terry here). Please. Really. Just don't
    Second–Mugabe is insane.
    Third–Is this even remotely surprising to anyone?

    May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ireadthis

    I wouldn't put the words "bless" and "Mugabe" together in the same sentence. Let us know when you pull your head out of the sand Christina.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Christina- you're a knucklehead.
    If you are so interested in bringing 'salvation' and 'truth' to the North Koreans, then by all means I encourage you to do it. Please move there right away. You may not be able to get a direct flight, and you might even have to cross a border or two illegally, but please don't let that discourage you.
    One less clueless bible-thumper would be a great thing for America.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Julie

    Christina, you might enjoy living in North Korea to enjoy the zoo. Book your one-way ticket today.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katrina

    Successful troll is successful.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. renji1

    ugh, why can't people lay off of DPRK? its obvious we can't do jack about it... especially because of their massive army, so why bother bashing it when it won't do you any good? Kim will be dead soon anyways... his health is getting worse and worse

    May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      No one cares about the size of their army. It may have alot of personnel, but this isn't the 11th century anymore. Modern combat is about much more than how many bodies you can throw at the enemy.

      No, no one will do anything about it because of the gas-laden artillery pointed at Seoul.

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

    The real issue is not about the animals, but why would Mugabe be sending a gift of any type to Kim Jong Il?

    May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Christina, stop talking. Everyone else, don't judge her words as the stamp of approval from Christians. Speaking as one myself I assure you we don't share the same sentiments.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TellMenolies

    The people of North Korea are starving to feed the military delusions of Kim Jong....this is an example of one deluded leader to another...A country that cannot feed it's own citizens does not need a zoo......Christina,you sound like a nutcase...the people of North Korea don't care about your the article before you post insensitive comments...

    May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      are you sure the headline did not read robert mugabe sends kim jong food

      May 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. E

    So... one dictator is going to send another dictator a "gift" of endangered animals? What!? Like everyone else has said, this has nothing to do with religion. It's just one nut trying to show another how much "stuff" he has. Both dictators have driven their countries into the ground while they continue to be rich and have every amenity, but their people are barely surviving. This is just ridiculous.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddy

      That's 100% on the nail head "E" two absolute "NUTJOBS" that among others should not be on this planet. Now besides the people the animals must suffer.

      May 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary

    Christina, This "gift" of live animals from one despotic leader to another has zero to do with salvation or truth or the bible or God. ZERO. neither man is attempting to "spread the good word' by giving or receiving such a gift. And Who are you to label or identify anyone as a sinner? The mote in your eye must be clouding your vision.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Will

    I suppose this is appropriate–Mugabe is sending away two of every animal before he finally destroys all of Zimbabwe...

    May 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. renji1

    guys lay off.... their just voicing their opinion

    May 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mbradm

      as is everyone on this board. that's the beauty of it. stpuid people can declare and everyone can explain the folly of their thinking. she has the right to ignore them along with the facts about kim, mugabe, and the health of these poor animals.

      May 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Arnoldo

    Who are we to say where the animals go. Look up Safari hunts and we are the biggest KILLERS of this animals. Is there a reason the rich white man needs a tiger skin or a zibra hid. Lets stop the hunts first then we can talk about others. This is the cristian way

    May 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Yachimon

    Poor elephants. They are heading to he;; on earth. Probably will die due to malnutrition.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fountama

      No they won't starve because Kim will eat them...

      May 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
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