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. Jeremy R

    thats one sweaty dude!

    May 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trojan Arc

    How many conflict zone diamonds can you fit in the butt of an elephant? Well..... I guess we'll find out when a diamond mine is "discovered" just over the border in neighborly China.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DC

    As long as the animals are properly cared for, I have no problems with sending them to North Korea. Considering how quickly we destroying habitat and sending species into extinction, the more places breeding stock is maintained, the better.

    This is one issue where politics and religion needs to be set aside in interest of preserving what we have left.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua Ludd

    Just another couple of absolute rube dictators trying to prove how sophisticated they are to the rest of the world by building up menageries or giving gifts of menageries.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Goushi


    Will they be swapping man juices afterwards?

    May 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    Wow, WE are all in trouble. Humans Are being inhumane to each other all over the world and we are worried about a gift of animals from one troubled nation to another!

    May 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alb390

      Well, when you have a society that cares more about what country Angelinas new baby is from and what Paris Hilton is wearing....thats what you get I guess

      May 19, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. badjrsgord

    North Korea is in such need that if "the people" get wind of this they'll probably want to EAT each and everyone of this poor animals.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christian

    So this gets everyone upset not the fact of all the people he has murdered or tortured or how he ruined his country... bloody hell....

    May 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    Too bad they can't send President Mugabe to North Korea too. How in the world they would find a female of his species I can't even guess.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Oba's new slavery

    Yummy wild animals for Kim's dinner! Korea should reciprocate by sending Kim and his family to be Mugabe's dinner . . . one kleptocracy to another.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. don finklebeath

    Take out the leader would you or do we need to leave everything up to the Russian?

    May 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. faboge

    Mugabe should be apprehended in the first country he sets foot outside Zimbabwe for the slaughter of thousands of Zimbabwens. This, another so called "big man" president in this sorry continent deserves nothing less than slow death
    by an army of ants!

    May 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Sweat much?

    May 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Billy

    Unbelievable. Is their an organization that can stop this? i guess a sniper might be out of the question?

    May 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Always put your trust in anything african..

    May 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
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