Ethiopian zoo poisons lion cubs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2006:
ADDIS ABABA–“Rare Abyssin-ian lion cubs are being poisoned
and sold to taxidermists” at the Lion Zoo in Ethiopia, Associated
Press correspondent Les Neuhaus disclosed on November 22, 2006.
“These animals are the pride of our country, but our only
alternative right now is to send them to the taxidermist,” Neuhaus
quoted Lion Zoo director Muhedin Abdulaziz. Abdulaziz said the cubs’
remains fetch about $178 apiece, and that his staff had poisoned six
cubs in 2006.
Built in 1948 by the late emperor Haile Selassie, the Lion
Zoo housed 16 adult lions and five cubs when Neuhaus visited.
Both Abdulaziz and Lion Zoo assistant veterinarian
Yedenekachew Sahelu denied to Efrem Legese and Hana Kifle of the
Homeless Animals Protection Society of Ethiopia that any cubs were
poisoned in 2006.
Abdulaziz and Sahelu claimed that the poisonings actually
occurred before Abdulaziz arrived, in 2004–which directly
contradicted Neuhaus. But they did acknowledge culling adult lions,
while continuing to allow the highly inbred population to mate.
“The story of the poisoning is familliar to me from my time
in Ethiopia,” Israeli consular employee Einat Danieli told ANIMAL
PEOPLE. Danieli had just started volunteer work in August 2006 to
improve the Haile Selassie Zoo, a separate facility at the palace of
the former emperor, described in the October 2006 edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE, when she was transferred to Toronto.
“Just before I left, I got a friend of mine from BBC working
on the poisoning story,” Danieli said, “and she got really good
direct proof of what is happening.”
North Carolina Zoo director David Jones, African Zoo
Association secretary Dave Morgan, and other concerned zoo officials
around the world scrambled to obtain further information and seek
means of intervention. Neither the Lion Zoo nor the Selassie Zoo is
accredited, and neither has had recent contact with the global zoo