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. Gerry Bean

    This is bold testament to Mugabe's character as a leader or a lack there of. He has no regard for any living thing animal or person under his regime, and will continue to flout his responsibilities as a President and enforce his dictatorship without mercy. He has brought a country once known as “The bread basket of Africa” to its knees; the inflation in Zimbabwe is so absurd, it can no longer be measured, the economy and currency have become completely obsolete in record time. Human and obviously animal rights mean nothing to the man entrusted with safeguarding them. It breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes and all who know even just a fraction of the cruelty that plagues the everyday life of an ordinary Zimbabwean.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. commentator

    It's amazing how this article has seemingly sparked more international outrage (and more comments from readers) than any report of all the horrendous oppression, torture, murder and starvation being inflicted on human beings in North Korea.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. richardc

    NK has millions of people starving and now thier going to feed a zoo...???

    May 19, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    I think what Mugabe needs is a good face wash. He has enough grease on his face to keep a running engine lubed.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    The poor animals will probably have it better than most North Koreans. This is disgusting!

    May 19, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Marcus68

    1) N. Korea is not a very good climate for some of tehse animals. Power goes out contantly there.
    2) N. Korea can't even feed thier own people, how will they feed the animals?
    3) My bet is that these animals will be killed and eaten bu Kim Jong Ills family and close friends.

    Sorry, but this gift is not right at all and anyone that thinkks is it is just as crazy or just stupid as those two leaders.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Diablo

    Have you guys heard Jim Jeffry'e take on Noah? Check it out.....

    May 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MikeJay

    If there ever was a need to round up a some animals and ship them off somewhere, that time has come. And we should
    start the collection with these breeds: The Osamabinladens, the Kimjungills, the Mugabes, the Achmadinajads, the Hugochavezes, the Maotsedogs, the Fidelcastros, Next perhaps a bunch of Primeministers, Presidents, and Premiers...
    Maybe Wallstreeters, Secretbankaccounters, and Bizznesmen after that.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mahbalz es Hari

    Too bad he can't find a species like his own. Maybe he should try mating with apes, although they're probably much smarter then he & would be incompatable.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Spotter

    IloveJesusmorethanyou = TROLL

    May 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Patience

    I'm optimistic this gift is an olive branch.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johnna

    What do you think will be on the dinner table when North Korea has their next failed harvest!

    May 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Zukibandit

    Is Mugabe sending along a Chef too?

    May 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NK

    And how many kids are out here starving, dying from malnutrition everyday? Too many to count, but this group is focusing on animals, who, left out in the wild, who be captured, slaughtered, or possibly eaten by OTHER animals in due time. SMH.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RodentKing

    Mugabe should be tarred and feathered and put in a cage with wheels and rolled through all the civilized cities for humans to see.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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