It’s not just elephants that Zimbabwe is capturing and shipping to North Korea:
Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has ordered that two of every animal species in the Hwange National Park be sent to North Korea as a gift to that country’s leader, Kim Jong Il. [Johannesburg Times]
Conservationists say the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, will send a modern-day ark, containing pairs of giraffes, zebras, baby elephants and other wild animals taken from a national park, to a zoo in North Korea. [The Guardian, via Sydney Morning Herald]
An official is now insisting that octogenarian “President” Robert Mugabe has nothing to do with it, while sort-of confirming that the “gifts” are being rounded up:
However Vitalis Chadenga, the Director General for National Parks told the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper that Mugabe was not involved in the controversial export. “I can tell you that the president or even the minister is not involved in this, there is nothing like a presidential decree here at parks. But I can confirm that we received an application from the Democratic Republic of North Korea and we are still processing the application,” he said on Friday.
Chadenga insisted exports of wild animals to any country were governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) regulations. “Of the animals which were requested only two elephants are endangered, the others like giraffes, zebras, warthogs are not endangered according to Cites,” he said. Chadenga said experts had been sent to the communist country to assess the new home for the animals and a report was being compiled. [Nehanda Radio]
It’s striking how much international outcry Zimbabwe is receiving over rounding up animals and sending them to death or a life of misery in North Korea. Contrast that to the apathy of most of the global news media when China does the same thing to men, women, and children every day.