Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kenya over rules our objection to Thai Zoo deal

Conservationists denounce Kenya's Thai zoo deal

18 Jan 2006 14:40:51 GMT


Source: Reuters


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, Kenya agreed to send the beasts more than 7,000 km (4,350 miles) to be part of a tourism project in Thailand.


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 Kenya's ability to safeguard endangered creatures and would put the animals' lives at risk.


"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 Thailand include giraffes, buffaloes and gazelles, with no endangered species involved.


Kenya says the deal will help promote tourism in the east Africa country.


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 150 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.920.4130 fax 885.4457 cell 493.4564


Meet our recent mountain lion cub rescues:


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