Lions at the famous Lion Zoo in Addis Ababa are being poisoned and the bodies sold to taxidermists because there is not enough money to look after them. Zoo administrator Muhedin Abdulaziz told the Associated Press that six cubs have been killed since the start of this year and sold for around $170 each to cover running costs. Established by the emperor Haile Selassie in 1948, the zoo in Siddist Kilo is currently home to eight pairs of adult Abyssinian lions and costs $6,000 per month to maintain, while the 1,000-1,200 daily visitors bring in only $5,000 per month in ticket sales. Animal rights groups have expressed concern about the revelation while the city authorities have said they will look into the matter.
The Abyssinian lion, which is smaller than other lions and has a distinctive black mane, is revered in Ethiopia where it is the national symbol. Experts believe there are only around 1,000 of the animals living in the wild.