A group of conservationists in Zimbabwe has claimed that animals are being captured in the country’s biggest game park under a presidential decree for export to a zoo in North Korea.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) said President Robert Mugabe ordered two animals of each species in Hwange, in the northern part of Zimbabwe to be captured.
They said information on this secret animal grab came from insiders at Hwange National Game Park which measures 14,000 square kilometers.
“We were recently informed that in accordance with a Presidential Decree, two of every species of animal in Hwange National Park are to be captured and sent to a zoo in North Korea.
“According to the report, the animals will include two eighteen month old elephant calves. It is believed that this is a “gift” from the President of Zimbabwe to the President of Korea” said the Task Force’s chairman Johnny Rodrigues.
The Task Force believes that animals captured so far include two juvenile elephants and giraffe.
The state National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority vehemently denied any such operation is going on.
However, reports are that security has been stepped up at the park and tourists are not being allowed anywhere near where the animals are being kept in quarantine.
“Capture and spotting teams have been seen in the park and there have been reports of armed men standing around key waterholes waiting for the game to appear so they can radio the information back to the capture teams. There have also been reports of National Parks vehicles towing cages around” said Rodrigues.
Elephant experts, according to ZTCF do not think there is much chance that the 2 young elephants will survive the trip.
In April, Mugabe’s government announced that the North Korean soccer team would set up a training camp in Zimbabwe ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
This angered human rights activists in Matabeleland region who vowed to demonstrate against their presence.
Soldiers loyal to Mugabe trained by North Koreans crushed an armed rebellion in the Matabeleland province where Hwange is situated and massacred close to 20 000 innocent civilians in the 1980s.