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Page last updated at 19:56 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 20:56 UK

Cuba plans Venezuela zoo barter

Baby giraffe. File pic.
The exchange may include a baby giraffe

Cuba is to send zoo animals, which may include a lion, a pygmy hippopotamus and a baby giraffe, to Venezuela in exchange for veterinary equipment.

The island's zoo veterinary service will receive equipment such as electronic microscopes and centrifuges.

The final list of animals to go is being drawn up. It is also expected to include two hyenas and an antelope.

Havana zoo boasts one of the best collections in the Americas, partly due to Cuba's military roles in Africa.

In the 1970s, tens of thousands of troops fought in independence wars on the continent.

The baby giraffe expected to be sent is named Evo, after Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The BBC's Michael Voss in Havana says the zoo has an impressive breeding record, with 700 zebras and 300 lions having been born in their confines and subsequently exported.

The animals are due to be sent by air freight to Venezuela next month.

The two countries have a close relationship, with Cuba paying for Venezuelan oil imports with doctors and health workers.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Cuba
12 Jul 08 |  Country profiles
Cuba 'jailing fewer dissidents'
12 Aug 08 |  Americas
Cuba struggles for economic reform
26 Jul 08 |  Americas


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