Save The Rare Abyssinian Lion Cubs

  • by: Tracey Buczynski
  • recipient: Muhedin Abdulaziz, Administrator at the old imperial Lion Zoo

There is no need for these precious animals to be killed. Why not sell them to other zoos around the world that can better afford to take care of them? We need to preserve the animals that we have so our children can enjoy them. There has to be something that can be done rather than slaughtering the lions.  Maybe the zoo can either raise money to keep the lions or do something to increase revenue to the zoo. After all these animals are the country's national symbol, have statues and are located on local currency.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Nov. 22) - 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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