Monday, November 27, 2006

Rare Abyssinian Lion Cubs Poisoned At Ethiopian Zoo to Save and Then Make Money: Dead Cubs Sold To Taxidermists for $170 Each To Be Stuffed and Sold

Do I really need to comment on this idiocy and pure heartlessness of this move? Really, I’m speechless.

Article:

Ethiopian lions poisoned to save money

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061122/ap_on_re_af/ethiopia_lions_poisoned_1

By LES NEUHAUS, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 22, 3:55 AM ET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Rare Abyssinian lion cubs are being poisoned at a zoo because staff cannot afford to keep them, a wildlife official said Wednesday.

The dead cubs are sold to taxidermists for $170 each to be stuffed and sold as decorations, said Muhedin Abdulaziz, the administrator at the old imperial Lion Zoo in the capital, Addis Ababa.

"These animals are the pride of our country. We need to do something about this. But our only alternative right now is to send them to the taxidermist," Abdulaziz said.

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their black manes, are the country's national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency.

Wildlife experts estimate that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions, which are smaller than other lions, remain in the wild. Despite a recent crackdown, hunters also kill the animals for their skins, which can fetch $1,000.

Abdulaziz said it costs around $6,000 a month to run the zoo, but it only receives $5,000 in revenues from entrance fees. He added that the poisoning has been going on at least since he arrived two years ago; the number of cubs that have been killed was not immediately clear.

The zoo is a popular local attraction, although poor facilities have led to concerns by international wildlife organizations. It was built in 1948 by Emperor Haile Selassie and currently has 16 adult lions and five cubs.

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