Chinese Offer Lion to Kabul Zoo
Feb. 02, 2002
BEIJING (AP) _ A wildlife park on the outskirts of Beijing has offered Kabul's decimated zoo a lion to replace Marjan, the long-suffering big cat who died last month, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.
Officials of the Badaling Wildlife Park want to send Kabul one of their 84 lions as an expression of ``the call for world peace,'' Xinhua quoted the park's deputy general manager, Wang Wei, as saying.
Marjan, who lost an eye to a grenade thrown into his cage, had become a symbol of Afghanistan's suffering during two decades of war and chaos. He succumbed to what appeared to be kidney and liver failure.
Miserable conditions at Kabul's zoo have prompted an outpouring of donations from abroad since the fall of the Islamic extremist Taliban militia. Some $400,000 has been raised for improvements by a U.S.-based fund. It is not known if other zoos have offered to donate animals.
Animal donations have long held symbolic political importance for China. China sent rare panda bears to the United States, Japan and Mexico in recognition of improving diplomatic ties.