Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Ethiopia's Famed Black-Maned Lions Being Stuffed For Lack Of Cash

The Abyssinia lions, or panthera leo abyssinica, are smaller than their east African cousins and the males have distinguishable black manes.
by Lea-Lisa Westerhoff
Addis Ababa (AFP) Nov 22, 2006
Dwindling finances and shrinking zoo space are reducing already declining population of Ethiopia's famed black-maned Abyssinian lions, the country's national symbol, to mere stuffed mementos. Despite concern among by conservationists, Addis Ababa's historic lion zoo, built nearly 60 years ago, has begun selling lion cubs to taxidermists because it is unable to feed the big cats and lacks room for their increasing numbers.

Zoo administrator Muhedin Abdulaziz said his 50,000-euro (64,000-dollar) budget was simply not enough to provide for more than 16 adult lions, which cannot be reintroduced to the wild.

"There is a shortage of place and a shortage of budget and when they are over-populated, most of the time we send them to taxidermists," Muhedin said, adding that he regretted the practice.

"It is not really good, but we do this is because of the problems we have," he said. "But we as experts are telling the government to extend these places to the countryside. That's the best solution."

"For the time being our immediate solution is to send them to the taxidermists, but the final and best solution is to extend the zoo into a wider area," Muhedin said.

The Abyssinia lions, or panthera leo abyssinica, are smaller than their east African cousins and the males have distinguishable black manes.

Experts say only 1,000 of them remain in the wild in Ethiopia's southern and eastern regions.

The culling is done by a vet who kills the cubs with poison. The bodies are sold to for about 140 euros (175 dollars) each to taxidermists who then retail the stuffed lions for 335 euros (400 dollars).

The zoo, built in 1949 during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, was intended to rear the animals for exhibition as symbols of his rule, which ended in 1974 when he was ousted by a pro-Soviet Maxist-Leninist military junta.

Currently, there are 15 adult lions and three cubs at the facility, which receives up to 1,200 visitors daily and is also home to monkeys, Egyptian ducks, rabbits and goldfish.

The director of the wildlife division of Ethiopia's agriculture ministry said he had no idea the lions were being culled.

"We are not aware that this is happening," said Tadese Haile, refusing to comment further on the matter.

A wildlife expert said he was offered 11 cubs last year but declined because he did not have enough land and he felt the government should inform the public about their plight to attract help.

"They have to create public awareness, there should be a lot of people interested in seeing lions," said the expert who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. "In Addis Ababa, there is no proper zoo."

"Some experts say these lions are no more in the wild and they should not be killed every year," he said. "They are part of our natural resources and we need to keep our natural resource."

However, it costs about 3,400 euros (4,000 dollars) per month to feed the 16 lions at the zoo and the government has refuse to hand them out because they are only found in the Horn of African country.

"They are endemic lions," Muhedin said. "They are not present anywhere else in the world so the government says you can't give them to other places."

"Our maximum capacity is for eight pairs of lions. We have two rooms for eight cubs, but when they grow we have to send them to the taxidermist, we don't have any other alternative," he added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Darwin Today At
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

  • UN Official Laments Darfur Aid
  • NIST Test Fans The Flames For High-Rise Fire Safety
  • Indonesia's Aceh Needs Three More Years To Rebuild
  • Red Cross Says Preparation Can Mitigate The Toll Of Disasters

  • 'Divided' Countries Could Leave Climate Deal In 'Tatters'
  • Dutch Bask In Warmest Autumn In Three Centuries
  • Kyoto Countries Set 2008 For Talks On Further Carbon Cuts
  • Kyoto Protocol Lurches Towards Next Decade

  • 'Enact Space Law To Govern Use Of Remote Sensing Data'
  • European Space Agency And Google Earth Showcase Our Planet
  • GeoEye-1 Will Use SGI Technology To Process Image Data
  • SciSys Wins Software Role For CryoSat-2 Mission

  • Accord Signed In France On Breakthrough Nuclear Reactor
  • Ultra-Intense Laser Blast Creates True 'Black Metal'
  • Chirac To Lead Signing Ceremony On International Fusion Test Reactor
  • Largest Superconducting Magnet Ever Switched On

  • Setting The Stage To Find Drugs Against SARS
  • Pattern Of Human Ebola Outbreaks Linked To Wildlife And Climate
  • UGA Researchers Use Laser, Nanotechnology To Rapidly Detect Viruses
  • 26,000 Russians Contracted HIV Since Start Of Year

  • Ethiopia's Famed Black-Maned Lions Being Stuffed For Lack Of Cash
  • Elephants Trample Two Women In Indian Sanctuary
  • Extraordinary Life Found Around Deep-Sea Gas Seeps
  • Looking At Life In Lyon

  • Man Jailed In China For Dumping Chemical Waste
  • Beijingers Told To Stay Indoors As Smog Hangs Over North China
  • Greens See Red Over A Thousand Hindu Fires In India
  • Police Fire Teargas To Break Toxic Waste Demo

  • Genetic Variation Shows We're More Different Than We Thought
  • First Map Of Structural Variation In The Human Genome Under Construction
  • Dad Inspired 'Jurassic Park,' Son Inspires 'Jurassic Poop'
  • Neanderthal Genome Sequencing Yields Surprising Results

  • The contents herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2005 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy statement