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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 18:03 GMT
Zoo moved to Burma's new capital
By Steve Jackson
BBC News East Asia editor

Trucks loaded with animals inside a covered cage wait at Rangoon's Zoological Garden 15 February 2008
Some of the animals are reportedly unhappy with the move
Burma's military government is moving hundreds of zoo animals from Rangoon to Naypyidaw, the country's new capital.

Elephants and rhinos are among the animals being taken nearly 400km (250 miles) to the new zoo from the main city's 100-year-old zoological gardens.

In recent years, Burma's entire government has been moved from Rangoon to shiny new buildings in Naypyidaw.

The city has been built in the middle of an area of tropical scrubland, away from the main centres of population.

But the military leadership appears to have felt that something was missing. After all, what capital city would be complete without a zoo?

So around half of the creatures from Rangoon's zoo are being moved to a newly-built complex in Naypyidaw.

Unhappy elephants

Hippos, monkeys, tigers and bears are reportedly being transported this week in small cages loaded onto trucks.

map

One zookeeper said the elephants had howled and refused to eat when their herd was split up.

While Burmese officials say the new zoo will be world class, eyewitnesses have said it lacks the infrastructure and the vegetation the animals will need.

No official reason has been given for the move, but the military government has been anxious to give an air of legitimacy to its new capital, which many critics say is remote and out of touch with the Burmese people.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Rare video images from inside Burma



SEE ALSO
Burma's new capital city unveiled
27 Mar 07 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Burma's new capital
27 Mar 07 |  In Pictures
Burma's confusing capital move
08 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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