1 August 2012

Namibia: Country Donates Animals to Cuba's National Zoo

Cuban television will film a documentary about the capture of 146 wild animals that Namibia will donate to Cuba's National Zoo in Havana, the country's official media said on Monday. The documentary, called "Noah's Ark", will shoot the scenes of rounding up the animals in their natural habitat and "will be filmed in high definition to be broadcast on any TV channel on the planet," official media said.

"Noah's Ark" will also film the transfer to Cuba of the animals belonging to 23 different species, including antelope, elephants and rhinos, according to the official media.

The translocation scheme, valued at more than US$17 million, was considered the largest wildlife donation from an African country to the Caribbean island.

Despite a "gesture of friendship" with Cuba, the donation sparked strong criticism, especially from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in South Africa. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it was sad to see wildlife deprived of freedom and totally dependent on human beings.

In response to the concern, Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah assured critics at the signing ceremony last week that the entire operation would be carried out in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The first batch of animals is scheduled to arrive at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport in September or October, with the remainder arriving in March 2013.


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