18 Jan 2006 14:40:51 GMT
NAIROBI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Forty-five wildlife groups urged Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday to stop plans to ship more than 100 wild animals to a Thai zoo, but a government spokesman said the deal would go ahead.
During a visit by Thai Premier Thaksin Sinawatra in November,
The deal outraged conservationists and prompted a protest last month by hundreds of club-wielding Maasai tribesmen who said they would take up weapons to defend the animals.
"The government is not going to change its plans just because a few NGOs (non-governmental organisations) have problems with this," government spokesman Alfred Mutua said.
Local and international wildlife groups published a petition on Wednesday criticising the deal. They said it involved threatened species, undermined
"The intention to use wildlife gifts to gain diplomatic and economic leverage amounts to trade in disguise and is therefore, in our view, unethical," the petition said.
It accused the government of allowing several threatened species -- including the serval cat, crowned crane and lesser flamingo -- to make the arduous journey to Chiang Mai.
The government has denied this and says the animals to be sent to
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 150 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.920.4130 fax 885.4457 cell 493.4564
Meet our recent mountain lion cub rescues: