Lion, elephant, buffalo and impala meat will be served at a lavish birthday celebration for Zimbabwe’s president, infuriating animal rights groups.
Robert Mugabe’s guests will dine on more than $US120,000 ($154,000) worth of wild animals at his 91st birthday party later this month.
Local farmer Tendai Musasa promised to donate two elephants, two buffalo, two sables, five impalas and a lion for the February 28 event, Zimbabwe’s Chronicle newspaper reported.
“This is our way of supporting the function and to ensure a celebratory mood in our community as well,” Musasa said.
“The total value is $120,000. This reflects the money we get annually and we thought this would be a perfect gesture.”
Musasa added: “At the moment we are making arrangements with the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to slaughter these animals a few days before the day. We are also liaising with the hotel that will keep the meat.”
About 20,000 people are expected to attend the Elephant Hills Resort bash.
However animal rights groups have slammed the menu as unethical.
“I am not in favour of anyone donating wild animals for a celebration or for any other reason,”
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chairman Johnny Rodrigues said.
“They have been doing this for years now. Every time there is a celebration or on independence day, several elephants and buffalo are killed for the celebrations. This is totally unethical and should not be allowed.”
The gift has also upset villagers near Musasa’s Victoria Falls farm who claim the animals were being handed over without consultation.
“Villagers said the animals involved were part of their annual hunting quota and donating them meant no income for the whole year. They said they were powerless because challenging the donation could be misinterpreted as unwillingness to participate towards the celebrations,” the Chronicle reported.
Mugabe, who has been in office since 1987, has always drawn criticism for his extravagant birthday parties as public services continue to decay.