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. M

    This is ridiculous, geeze I know the west has a lot of pressure in Zimbabwea and this is just a gesture of an economic partnership but this is just stupid.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. danno

    N Korea can feed themselves much less a bunch of animals....unless they plan on getting 1 billion dollars from US...

    May 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. terpfan

    I like Mugabe's attempt to be kind to Kim Jong ill and I'm guessing the gift will go straight to the son.
    Maybe that gift will change nuclear active NK into an animal kingdom.

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

    the worry is the north koreans might eat those poor elephants.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard

    I have a feeling Kim Jong Il is going to eat the two baby elephants. Or use their bones to make chopsticks.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jihadthis

    Hopefully they will just have big old bbq and feed the animals to all the people starving

    May 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Ramiez

    Mugabe is a crazed dictator in who had brought ruin to a once prosperous and now starving land. Too bad he has bought off the military and the rest of the government.. he will die in office of old age while his nation starves.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. altsRus

    How epic is a troll when it is a combo of hivemind and masks?

    May 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WhatDidChristinaPost?

    There has been a message board massacre here. What did Christina post? I WANT to know .

    Being a good troll is the aim of my life and people like Chrisitna are the shining beacon to greatness.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ricardo Fumar

    Another great idea coming out of Africa. Maybe we could blame it on White Christian America if things don't work out...

    May 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Classy Lassy

    Hey Luis, do you know what the word PUNCTUATION means? NO? Well, it means using periods (those are the dots at the end of a sentence), Makes it so much easier for people to read.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris D

    Can't we just assassinate Kim Jong Il and Mugabe? No one will miss these devious lunatics, and it will greatly improve the world in general with these two pieces of Sh#@ gone.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. amust

    this is th elongest post i have ever come across...can't read all.
    human can be cruel for their selfishness. they do not leave even the animals...elephants are very emotional animals....PLEASE DO NOT SEPERATE MOM and KIDS. THE ELEPHANTS CANNOT SURVICE THE HARSH COLD IN nORTH KOREA. ALLAH is watching you Mr. Mugabe.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sihn Mia

    Truly most westerner have short memories, during the colonial times the whites settlers use to take these animals at infancy from Africa to Europe and elsewhere. Please stop being self righteous, hippocratic! it is disgusting!

    May 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Johnson, Northern MN

    A gift from one village idiot tyrant to another.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
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