Wild African animals in tiny Cuban zoo!

  • by: Ella Grace Harbord
  • target: Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

In 2009 the Namibian government hatched a plan to send to Cuba 148 wild animals from Namibia's Waterberg Plateau Park (40,300 hectare). The animals would be put in Cuba's National Zoological Park of only 342 hectares. This has already involved the stressful capture of many animals from the wild and in October the government plan to begin shipping out the animals in shipments dubbed "Noah's Ark II".

Transfer of animals born in captivity is commonplace between zoos and such animals will cope with such treatment, but to take wild-born animals, place them under such stressful conditions and then put them in a zoo, the entire area of which is their usual roaming grounds, is totally unfair on them.

Some of the animals to be taken are: lions, rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, buffalos, hyenas, honey-badgers, porcupines, kudu, bat-eared foxes, ostriches and white-backed vultures.

For more information see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18811820

Dear Ms Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

I am writing in response to the "Noah's Ark II" plan the Namibian government has with the Cuban National Zoological Park.

The capture of wild Namibian animals for placement in a zoo, although in line with UN CITES regulations is simply unfair. Wild animals should not be placed in captivity; instead emphasis should be placed on improvement and increase of current captive animals through inter-zoo breeding programmes.

Please reconsider the capture and removal of so many beautiful Namibian animals from their natural territory. Wild-born animals would find a journey on ship or by plane to Cuba a terrifiying and distressing ordeal and it is utterly unjustified to expect animals to cope well in such conditions. As well as this, it is a known fact that animals taken from the wild and placed in artificial conditions suffer from boredom, depression and institutionalisation. It is also known that they have significantly lower life expectancies than those born in captivity and those left in the wild. 

Moving animals such as elephants, rhinos, lions, hyenas and vultures (which all have large roaming/hunting/foraging areas) from such beautiful natural landscape of 40,300 hectares and placing them in cages and enclosures in a zoo of only 342 hecatres cannot ever be seen as fair on the animals. It can only be expected they would suffer depression and lower life expectancies.

I am writing to ask that you have mercy on the wild animals in Namibia's beautiful lands, that you would protect them and leave them in the wild instead of shipping them out to a foreign land under unfamiliar conditions. Please stop this plan; have mercy and protect the animals under your care.

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