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.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • North Korea • Zimbabwe
soundoff (752 Responses)
  1. Lisa too

    Maybe they've found a new way to sneak cash/arms? With any luck, the animals will stampede and evade their moronic traffickers – and that is exactly what this "gift" is – government-sponsored trafficking.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sssimon

    LOL @ Christina. Proof yet again that sarcasm does not work online.

    Way to set a record though for number of replies to a comment.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. haha

    LOL @ how many people fell for Christina's troll, L2internet you guys...

    May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KELLY

    I can only hope and pray that this does not take place. Those poor inicent animals should not be treated this way. What are people thinking?

    May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michelle

    What a shame. Many of these animals are endangered species. It's true that zoos in other countries house many of those same species in their collections, but many are focused on breeding, genetic study, and other scientific pursuits while also educating the public about the importance of conservation. Mugabe shipping off some of his country's greatest treasures, and having Kim Jong Il put them up in some terrible excuse for a zoo is tantamount to the menagerie that MIcheal Jackson was allowed to keep at one time on his Neverland ranch – POINTLESS. GIven that many of these species teeter on the brink of extinction, it's even more than pointless, it's a detriment to biodiversity.

    What a literal dog and pony show! I hope the transfer is stopped somehow, these animals are allowed to continue living in their natural habitat under the care of park rangers, and these dictators will be brought down by the power and will of the people who have suffered so much abuse at their hands.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ME3

    I've read other posts by Christina...and I doubt this is sarcasm

    May 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. emmelinegrace

    PLEASE!!! Who is building the 'Noah's Ark'?, and on whose ship would the animals travel ?
    For what reason, and for what purpose can you see this as a charitable act?

    May 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mugabe is a Christian!

    It's funny how when dictators like Sadam harm their people, he is looked upon as an evil muslim, and we invade the entire country. But when christian dictators starve the entire population of their country, all these religious christian nutjobs, conservatives can do is talk and pretend that he isn't christian. Let's invade Zimbawe and call him a Christian extremist/terrorist/hatemonger, or else shut your christianity crap and keep on living your life as an "honest christian".
    -This proves all organized religions eventually become crap that they are now-

    May 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • rudy

      Right you are in the discrepacy but it apples more to the nesds of the west like oil from the arab nations. Uganda has little which the west want. Mugabbe's problem is that hbis people raided the farms held by whites and they made ghosts ot of them resulting in famine

      May 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rudy

    Could he not have given pairs of animals other than Noah's Arch? Any animal would suffer there as they also suffer in China which is a more prosperous nation.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Reynolds

    You would have thought that Our Afrikan brothers would have learned from the past that dealing with and trading with those coming to steal and take the gifts of Afrikan soil. This is why Africa even to this day is split up and becoming drained and cut put up even today. As long as you have these Afrikans caring more about their own pockets and political power the people of Africa will yet to be free. Truly a shame and this lady speaks of Christ. ..Forcing religion on Africa was the 1st transgression of trying to gain control and to rule by fear a already spiritual culture and society.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • geog

      So it's the Christian influence in Africa that is causing the starvation and Genocide? I'm sorry my dear atheist it's the modern day's version of what caused the Crusades. Muslim jihad (a truly twisted, disgusting religion)

      May 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reynolds

      No RELIGION in genreal actually. .. Both Christianity & Muslims who practice Isalm have had negative effects on the country but non more than christianity. Make people bow in the name of Jesus.. Make people Bow in the name of Muhammod all the same. Africa through out history has been at the heart of turmoil because so many know that Africa is so rich with resources that others want to strip from it.

      Lets go back way before. Africa was a spiritual place before the need for control and indoctrination of man made religions from the west.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rayman

    I just checked the psych ward and its hallucinogenic hour. In the name of Christianity forgive Chistina and her other druged-up friends for they know not what they say.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    I guess all the sanctions on Kim are taking their toll,,, Man's gotta eat.
    I'll take 2 of everything,,, yum,,, pass the ketchup.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smartie01

    Born Free should pay Somalie pirates to hijack that ship! Or we can always turn to the penguins of Madagascar – they are pretty creative when put on a rescue mission. CLEARLY someone needs to help these poor creatures!

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

    Didn't Christina already clarify she was being sarcastic earlier in these posts? And aren't you supposed to be posting comments about the story? Talk about being short-sighted.

    I really just think that these two "leaders" are about the most mad people on earth. This idea comes out of left field in my view. Where on earth did this come from? Who gains from this? Why trade animals? I think the only thing we can probably all agree upon is that the poor animals will suffer, almost certainly. It breaks my heart.

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

    I seriously hope this does not happen. Can this package make an accidental diversion to somewhere where the animals will actually be cared for?
    Let's just give him a sample of dung from every animal. That's about all he can be trusted with.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29