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Zimbabwe to export elephants to N.Korea: official

Indonesian police seize 71 green turtles
Denpasar, Indonesia (AFP) May 19, 2010 - Indonesian police said Wednesday they had rescued 71 endangered green sea turtles after a raid on a warehouse on the holiday island of Bali. The animals were alive but with their flippers tied with rope after police investigated suspicious activity by the 55-year-old warehouse owner, senior detective Andi Rahmantiro told AFP. The turtles were probably destined for local food markets, he added. "We have been eyeing the area for a while but we needed stronger evidence. Yesterday our officers raided the location because the information was certain," Rahmantiro said.

"The suspect confessed to planning to sell the turtles for 700,000 rupiah (77 dollars) each. On the market they can actually reach about two to four million rupiah each." An estimated 100,000 green sea turtles are killed in the Indo-Australian archipelago each year, mostly for their meat, according to environmental group WWF. Turtle meat is a traditional part of the Balinese diet but consumption has fallen since its peak in the 1970s thanks to greater awareness of the species and its importance to the local tourism industry. Rahmantiro said the rescued turtles, most of which were more than 10 years old, would be released back into the sea. The warehouse owner faces up to five years in jail for violating conservation laws.
by Staff Writers
Harare (AFP) May 19, 2010
Zimbabwe is set to export elephants, giraffes, zebras and other wildlife to North Korea, which the country's national parks boss defended Wednesday as "legitimate trade".

Conservationists have raised concerns that the animals might not survive in Stalinist North Korea. In the 1980s Zimbabwe sent a pair of rhinos to North Korea, but they reportedly died a few months later.

"From our professional judgment, these people have the capacity to handle these animals. This is a legitimate business trade," national parks chief Vitalis Chadenga told a news conference.

"Zimbabwe is allowed to export throughout the world to appropriate destinations," he said.

"We have satisfied ourselves in terms of (North Korea's) application that we are dealing with a business arrangement, which we are quite happy to embrace."

In addition to the pairs of elephants, giraffes and zebras, North Korea has also bought couples of jackals, rock hyrax, known as dassies, blue monkeys, spotted hyenas, blue cranes, warthogs and catfish.

Chadenga said Zimbabwe has five other applications to buy wildlife currently under consideration.

"It's not an illegal shipment. We also have five applications which we are considering from Mozambique, Japan and three other countries," he said.

Zimbabwe's long-ruling President Robert Mugabe has close ties with Pyongyang. North Korea trained the Zimbabwe army's infamous Fifth Brigade, which is accused of killing around 20,000 minority Ndebeles between 1984 and 1987.

North Korea's football team is also expected to train in Zimbabwe for two weeks before the World Cup in neighbouring South Africa.

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