Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zoo poisons lions :(

A major zoo in Ethiopia is poisoning rare lion cubs and selling the corpses to be stuffed because it can't afford to care for the animals, which are the national symbol, the zoo's administrator said Wednesday.

"These animals are the pride of our country,'' Muhedin Abdulaziz of the Lion Zoo said. "But our only alternative right now is to send them to the taxidermist.''

Ethiopia's lions,also called Abyssinian lions are famous for their black manes, adorn statues and the local currency. The country's emperors were long fascinated by lions, part of their connection with Solomon, the lion of Judah.

Wildlife experts estimate that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions, which are smaller than other lions, remain in the wild.

The Lion Zoo has poisoned six cubs so far this year, Abdulaziz said.

Mesganu Arga, head of the Information and Culture Bureau in Addis Ababa, said the city was looking into the matter.

"These are rare animals and a treasure to the country,'' Mesganu said.

Animal conservation groups expressed outrage at the killings.

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